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Author Topic: [D&D 3.0/3.5] Skill combat and blood drinking  (Read 12352 times)
Callan S.
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« Reply #30 on: May 04, 2006, 09:00:57 PM »

I was about to say I don't have enough nar play history to post an example. But one did come to mind. Both players are long time friends. One PC is a palladin (player: Anthony) and one a thief (player: Daniel), D&D 3.x...a few levels under the belts, so their a bit rounded in character. At the start of the game they saw a man slay three peasants then run off and they couldn't catch him.

Latter they find him and he confesses that two of them were magically disguised snake men, who were turning the rest of his family insane/evil through magic (he wasn't insane because he was cast out of the family years ago...yup, angsty stuff). But he didn't know which were the snake men, so, frantic, he slayed all of them, peasant and snake alike.

The palladin hears this and instantly wants to turn him in. And then Daniel, the thiefs player pipes up and says "Nah, let him go and he'll owe us one". It was kind of like Anthony got a small punch in the guts, from his expression.

Daniel just did not get what Anthony was saying. It wasn't some narrativist twist he was applying, it was an agenda clash. I've posted about a conversation with Daniel here before, which was entitled "Narrativism is a good gamist penalty to avoid" I think. Here, he was turning the situation into a resource to tuck away for latter.

Okay, so maybe I'm just a bit stuck into a groove. But in a game where discovery is happening, I'd want to focus really heavily on discovery. I'm going to push for a gamist angle there. Now if it's a nar game, I don't give a shit about discovery, ie wheedling out the facts by careful strategem. I don't care about physical combat or social combat, if that combat is about pursing a 'win'. Who cares about winning...no ones going to pat me on the back for that right now!

If were going to do a game that focuses on discovery now and nar latter, I need a flag to indicate where one ends and the other begins, so I can actually enjoy each instead of enjoying one and bored with the other. Bizarre as it sounds to Ralph, yes, BANG and a switch gets flipped/we drift agenda. Otherwise I'm going to end up as Anthony or Daniel.

A bit ranty, but it gets the investment out in the open better than a clinical post. However, if it's rantyness just raises hackles, I'm out of this thread with an apology post.

Quote from: Ron
First scene: meeting the lord's son, the impetuous and rather pushy young Hathic; and Hathic's trouble-making, smarmy friend Eladd who seems to run things. All sorts of Diplomacy vs. Innuendo rolling commenced. The following scene with the confused, sleepy old lord put the characters into a fun position, as they tried to match their Diplomacy and other skills to the various Innuendos, Bluffs, and Sense Motives going on.

I didn't fully translate the rules into "social combat," for instance I didn't use Initiative but just had everyone say what they were up to and roll. It went well, as I say. In a couple of cases, they got their asses kicked sideways, and the players buckled down to saying, "This Eladd guy is no good. What's up?" Oh, and the Hieronymous shrine is all screwed up; figuring that out was a fun case of Religious Knowledge. I basically found a way to hit nearly all the social and knowledge stuff on their sheets, eventually.

The best part was that the players did a great job of looking over their sheets and deciding how they should attack the situation. They started with Detect Magic, but Eladd was way ahead of them with Misdirection, which led to an embarassing interrogation with a totally innocent serving dude ... and thank goodness for Sense Motive, which allowed me to cue the players that yes, the guy really was innocent, and Arcane Knowledge (or whatever it's called, Spellcraft?) that allowed me to tell them about Misdirection.
I think I need more info on the dice rolling, because I may simply not see what's going on. What were the stakes? How did the players discribe the diplomacy rolls? The sense motive roll, did it come with an emotional/moral angle if they failed? Just embarressment or embaressment and a reassesment of how you treat people/suspects or such like? Or would it end up being a resource liability? What were the players gunning for and more importantly, what stakes were they willing to put down?
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Blankshield
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« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2006, 09:40:30 PM »

I was about to say I don't have enough nar play history to post an example. But one did come to mind. Both players are long time friends. One PC is a palladin (player: Anthony) and one a thief (player: Daniel), D&D 3.x...a few levels under the belts, so their a bit rounded in character. At the start of the game they saw a man slay three peasants then run off and they couldn't catch him.

Latter they find him and he confesses that two of them were magically disguised snake men, who were turning the rest of his family insane/evil through magic (he wasn't insane because he was cast out of the family years ago...yup, angsty stuff). But he didn't know which were the snake men, so, frantic, he slayed all of them, peasant and snake alike.

The palladin hears this and instantly wants to turn him in. And then Daniel, the thiefs player pipes up and says "Nah, let him go and he'll owe us one". It was kind of like Anthony got a small punch in the guts, from his expression.

Daniel just did not get what Anthony was saying. It wasn't some narrativist twist he was applying, it was an agenda clash. I've posted about a conversation with Daniel here before, which was entitled "Narrativism is a good gamist penalty to avoid" I think. Here, he was turning the situation into a resource to tuck away for latter.

linked

Quick question, Callan.  In the example above, I 'm reading this:

And then Daniel, the thiefs player pipes up and says "Nah, let him go and he'll owe us one".

...completely differently than you go on to imply.  You imply that it was all about resources.  I read that sentence as "obviously" Daniel driving a nar agenda.  Goody two-shoes paladin says "He's bad, and must be punished", smarmy theif says "Let him off, and he'll owe us"  Two statements, from two different characters showing two takes on the same theme.  Happens all the fucking time. 

So here's the question: Is it possible that Daniel was hitting on theme and you just didn't see it?

thanks,

James
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Callan S.
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« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2006, 01:38:45 AM »

Nope. His tone dismissed at a real world level...this was no moral injection into the game world. This was a 'nah, that's the wrong move dude!'. There was no possitive social feedback for 'getting all emotional and shit'. Daniel has been rather dismissive of stuff like that before (thanks for that link, by the way).

The result was that Anthony, in a rather lacklustre way, gave up on the issue and Daniel forged on with play.
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contracycle
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« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2006, 02:38:32 AM »

So the idea with the thief example is that it was a real difference of moral opinion between players, thus could be address of premise.  But their positions are dependant on knowledge of the circumstances.

I think the point about the bullet in the gun is this: suppose the premise is thought of as something around violence and intimidation, then the presence or absence of the bullet is materially relevant to the situation, and the moral positions people adopt.  Surely this information has to be available to the players so they can adopt a position?  Or else, if they adopt an un- or ill-informed position, can this be important and relevant?

The answer is, this is not what happens.  Narrativist players do address premise on the information available,  the premise is not prefigured.  If they don't know the status of the gun, it is functionally irrelevant to the premise they themselves do address.  Put it his way, if one players character bravely thrust themselves forward in order to take the non-existent bullet for their comrade, would the absence of the bullet make their attempted sacrifice less heroic?  No, not if they THOUGHT there was a bullet.  Or likewise, if they bared their breast and swore never to recant, or whatever is going on the scene.

So there is no requirement for players to have all information pertinent to a premise, because the premise is what they themselves propose through play action.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2006, 05:12:04 AM »

Gareth's right, Callan.

In your example, there isn't any address of Premise at all. It's just not there. It's an ephemeral bit of interaction between two players which doesn't give much information, but most especially does not indicate any kind of Narrativist switch getting flipped. I disagree with James regarding the agenda clash; at most, I see a brief arrival at a tactical decision which doesn't say much about Creative Agenda at all. And what you do say for context militates against Narrativism in a big way.

What your example tells me is that you're asking questions that are actually pretty far out of your depth at this time. I think I have a pretty good idea where you are, in all this thinking about RPGs, and it's a rough spot. You are struggling through many, many permutations of Gamist play, with a lot of frustrated history based on knowing it must be or should be fun, but not really seeing it much. Whether it's a basic failure of the Exploration (SIS), or a difference in what the Gamism should itself be about, or an uncertanty about competition, or a tendency to swing toward or avoid the Hard Core, your mind is all Gamism - agh - Gamism - no, this way - ack - Gamism.

In that state, there's just no point about discussing or understanding Narrativist play. You are not the first person in this state here at the Forge. The tendency is for the person to dive right into Narrativist discussions and pick up the terminology quickly, because he recognizes certain features that he really wants to see (because of the strong N/G parallels). But there's no real, experiential or aesthetic understanding there. The person becomes a bit of a fake here, frankly - paddling along in the Narrativist discussions and fitting in by not using the terminology blatantly incorrectly ... but somehow never really presenting their own "ah ha" or facilitating someone else's. He really wants to talk about Gamism and often does so, but not honestly - talking about real play and real problems. The tendency to hop into Narrativism discussions in a seemingly-knowledgeable way is a defense, a shield against really getting into the issues troubling or intriguing him. It means he can commentate but not be himself the focus of scrutiny.

Another confounding factor in this tendency, also observed across many people posting over the years, is a squirrelly insistence that they emotionally own D&D. Therefore they leap into D&D discussions with all their baggage and needs without really paying attention to the fact that they should be posting their own actual play threads, about actual events and rules and people.

It's a shame, too, because Gamism rocks the house and we can easily have great discussions about that if it were being brought up.

Callan, I say to you - post new threads about your actual play experiences. And not some piddly little ten seconds of interaction, either. I'm talking about real meaty actual play stuff, like the first post in this thread or the one Buzz posted when I made it clear to him what he needed to do.

None of your questions about the skills-interactions are important to answer here, in contrast with this crucial and clear need for you to do that posting. Until then, you'll forever be a secondary, half-in half-out, bizarro interferer into threads, gumming them up without adding or clarifying content.

Best, Ron

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Callan S.
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« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2006, 12:59:36 PM »

Gareth: I'm already working from that understanding.

Hi Ron,

A mans in a morally ambigious situation, where it's the life of his family or killing an innocent along with the guilty. And the player judges that there is no excuse, he should be immediately turned in (which I compared against my own feelings on the situation, which is that he should do penance for life but not hang). And it's not nar? I think your working from 'there needs to be a reward cycle to identify a CA'. Weve been through this on a another thread, when I mention nar it means what I wanted at a particular time (and in this case, reporting Anthony's apparent wants). I show you a grain of sand and you say "that's not a beach!". I agree...that's where a beach starts from. Were differing on the technical worth of that grain, rather than me just wanna talk gamism but can't see it.

I'll tell you what though, in terms of ownership and hackles, you can probably see mine are raised now. I've just been told my address (well, I was a listener to Anthony's, so I was part of it) wasn't good enough for the story/wasn't good enough to support a creative agenda. Rant: Weeeeelllll screw the making a good story, cough, I mean absolutely clear and concise agenda! Anthony made his moral judgement and while it lasted, I LIKED IT! >:)

My next AP reports already were going to be on gamism. Running a game, even though it's PBP and lacks so many social elements, has been far more revealing than just thinking about the whole thing (of course). There are a few accounts of it here at the moment, at a grain of sand level. I'll see if I can identify a reward cycle and post the whole thing.

On a side note for all: an old account of mine, in terms of nar: Anxiety and recognition of narrativism

BTW, I still want to know those stakes.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2006, 08:35:47 AM »

Fuck "stakes." "Stakes" is currently an abominable term in disarray across dozens of discussions.

See games 'in play' for my points about this issue regarding playing Sorcerer. They are portable to a fair extent to my current D&D game, for social skill confrontations especially.

Your emphasis on the "grain" is exactly the problem. No, I am not impressed, convinced, or even interested by your account above. It is a molehill, and if you want to talk about the mountain of Creative Agenda, you'll have to show me a mountain. No clod of dirt or single rock is a mountain. If you show me a rock that is shaped like a mountain and tell me that the mountain it comes from must look like that, you're wasting my time.

Start a new thread. Give a real account of play, described now, not some old thread reference. You are, at this point, defying site and forum standards for discussion by stalling and shirking on this point. Just as with Dan, I'll be happy to deal with any and all discussion of dice, rolls, conflicts, interactions, narrations, and consequences, for your game as you describe it and (for instance) my current game of D&D.

And leave this thread alone. Currently, you're 'jacking it.

Best, Ron
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buzz
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« Reply #37 on: May 11, 2006, 06:54:56 PM »

That's why I'm not concerned with my straightforward "go see Old Beezah" moment, because it was merely scene framing, not railroading ... they still get to choose all the important stuff, especially setting up which conflict will occur, where, and with whom, and about what. (Hey Buzz! See that? I can't plan for that! They do it!!)
And the light bulb in my head gets a little less dim... I think I'm getting it.

Sort of a side question... you seem to be playing pretty fast-and-loose with the rules. E.g., there's no opposed Diplomacy vs. Innuendo or Bluff in the RAW. My dumb question is: Why is this okay?

I mean, I realize that D&D is not your game of choice, and these players are all new to the game. That seems to make it okay, especially since you're adding a level of "social combat" that doesn't really exist in the books. But, if this were veteran players (like my groups), wouldn't this sort of be Calvinball? Or is it that you've set up a house rule(s) based on your knowledge of the rule text and the players at the table, and you stuck to it throughout the game?

And what do I mean when I say "okay"? Not that the RPG police will hunt you down, no. But that the various essays seem to point to not doing this. Granted, I'm thinking of the Gamism essay, and what seems to be going on here (according to Chris) is Narrativism. Is the way you're running things just a consequence of using D&D for Nar purposes?

Just trying to understand your approach.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #38 on: May 12, 2006, 05:31:31 AM »

Hi Buzz,

Quote
you seem to be playing pretty fast-and-loose with the rules. E.g., there's no opposed Diplomacy vs. Innuendo or Bluff in the RAW. My dumb question is: Why is this okay?

Well, now I'm puzzled. There is a whole section in my Player's Guide which explains how to figure out who does better or beats the other guy when two characters are using skills. You roll each character's skill, and whoever gets the higher value wins.

What I don't see is any example of two social-type rolls in opposition, or any explicit text that holds your hand and says "you can do this." But none of that is necessary. Look ...

If one of the characters were hiding in the forest, and if a scary NPC were hunting him, what would you think about the player rolling his Hide (or Stealth or whatever it is) and the NPC rolling his Track? Whoever gets the higher roll, that's what happens - he gets spotted, or he doesn't.

I am going to leap forward and assume that this is your response: "That is perfectly understandable. That is what the opposed-skill rules are written for. Such scenes are conceivably very common when playing this game."

If that's your response, then your question really boggles me. There they sit, about six or seven really specific social skills, in the skill list. There are the opposed-skill rules, sitting in a paragraph on the same page.

Given that text all sitting there staring us in the face, why in the world would you perceive "Diplomacy vs. Bluff" as being out of the scope of the rules as written? They seem ... utterly explicitly available for that purpose, to me.

Best, Ron
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Andrew Cooper
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« Reply #39 on: May 12, 2006, 07:00:46 AM »

Opposed rolls are explicitly available.  I can't look up the specific section in the rules at the moment, since I'm at work but it works basically like you've said, Ron.  I think the rules explain it with different semantics but it is there.  The example I remember reading in the rules is the standard, "One person is hiding and another is looking for him." example.  The passive/defending  (hiding) player rolls his Hide skill.  The result of his roll becomes the Difficulty Class that the searching player has to achieve in order to succeed.  While the example was hiding and seeking, I think they were pretty clear that this could apply to all sorts of situations.

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ffilz
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« Reply #40 on: May 12, 2006, 08:39:15 AM »

I think what throws the curve at everyone here is the table given with the diplomacy skill that gives static DCs based on how friendly the target is to the PC. And people have moaned about that table for years. A good solution obviously is opposed social skill rolls (and actually bothering to give each NPC a social skill so they aren't pushovers just because they have 0 ranks in any social skills).

I'd say you've hit on a great application of the rules already presented even if it isn't bog standard play.

There are other examples of non-opposed skills causing problems. Tumble is often cited as a problem. Monte Cook resolved tumple in Arcana Unearthed/Evolved. Tracking also has static DCs.

Frank
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Frank Filz
Will Grzanich
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« Reply #41 on: May 12, 2006, 09:32:38 AM »

Right.  The thing is that the rules-as-written don't allow any given skill to be opposed by any other given skill, as the DM sees fit; they lay out which specific skills can be opposed by which other specific skills.  Spot vs. Hide.  Move Silently vs. Listen.  Bluff vs. Sense Motive.  But Diplomacy isn't opposed by anything (other than Diplomacy, when two characters are negotiating).

D&D doesn't have a "Persuade" skill, Neverwinter Nights notwithstanding.  You can Bluff your way out of a situation, and you can use Diplomacy to make people more friendly or helpful, but it's largely up to the DM to decide how far a given NPC is willing to go to help you out.

That said, there's no problem with making "unsanctioned" opposed checks.  I'm not sure what you'd oppose Diplomacy with in 3.5, though, for the purposes of (non-lying) persuasion.

-Will
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Glendower
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My name is Jon.


« Reply #42 on: May 12, 2006, 09:41:17 AM »

That said, there's no problem with making "unsanctioned" opposed checks.  I'm not sure what you'd oppose Diplomacy with in 3.5, though, for the purposes of (non-lying) persuasion.

I'd oppose Diplomacy with Diplomacy.  Higher roll (with modifiers) wins.  Fight fire with fire. 
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Will Grzanich
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« Reply #43 on: May 12, 2006, 02:49:10 PM »

I'd oppose Diplomacy with Diplomacy.  Higher roll (with modifiers) wins.  Fight fire with fire. 

Diplomacy vs. Diplomacy works great for debates, with each person trying to convince the other of the correctness of their respective arguments.  But what if person A is trying to persuade person B, but person B doesn't give a whit about convincing person A of anything?  Should a person's skill in making nice with people make him necessarily more stubborn?  I'm not so sure.

I suppose you could just come up with some static DCs for various levels of "stubbornness" and leave it at that.

-Will
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buzz
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« Reply #44 on: May 12, 2006, 10:00:47 PM »

I'd oppose Diplomacy with Diplomacy.
RAW, you don't use Diplomacy v. Diplomacy to convince someone of your argument. You can use Diplomacy vs. DCs listed in the rules to change an NPC's attitude, and you can use opposed Diplomacy checks to see which of two advocates plead a better case to a third party. You explicitly cannot use Diplomacy on a fellow PC. Other social skills (Bluff, Intimidate) do not have this explicit prohibition, but the DM advice basically dissuades you from doing it. You're supposed to just "roleplay" it.

That's my issue, Ron. The way you were handling these skills sounds cool, but it also sounds like you were extrapolating usage that, in some cases, may have been directly contradictory to RAW.

My confusion is that, based on the essays, I thought that playing fast-and-lose was a Forge no-no. Or is this healthy Illusionism? (Apologies if I'm butchering the terminology.)
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