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Author Topic: Toughness  (Read 15095 times)
Holt
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #60 on: September 23, 2002, 07:58:22 AM »

Quote from: Jaif
As a GM (and player), I hate the process of ever-escalating dangers to keep ahead of players with ever-escalating abilities.  It ends up feeling wrong to me, and I believe to players too.

-Jeff


Out of interest...

Does this mean that the characters in your game never advance and get better...or do they face the same level of challenge all the time?

I only ask because I can't understand the point you are trying to make. The process of ever escalating danger is a natural course for any game or story. If things didn't get more tense, exciting and dangerous then what would make people play?...or for that matter, sit through a two hour film, or read a 400+ page book?

I'll be the first to admit that what I've said doesn't count for all games, books or films, but it's in most of them in some way.

- Holt.
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Valamir
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« Reply #61 on: September 23, 2002, 08:16:12 AM »

You know, there is some really interesting Gamist contrasted to Simulationist thought going on in this thread, that keeps me reading it long after the topic ceased to be of interest to me.

On the one hand you have players hastening to point out that even a 10 Toughness doesn't make a character invincible and if a player has such a character there are numerous ways to bring him to heel so allowing the attribute to get that high isn't really all that unbalanced.

On the other hand you have people who don't really care whether a character with 10 Toughness is invincible or unbalancing or what not.  They just don't like the idea that difference between TO 4 and TO 10 is the equivelent of a suit of plate mail, and that it's a little silly to assume that an average person can increase his imperviousness to weapon damage the equivelent of a sheet of metal simply by working on his Toughness.

I love the dichotomy of perspectives.
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Nick the Nevermet
Member

Posts: 352


« Reply #62 on: September 23, 2002, 08:38:39 AM »

Unfair question time:

Do you have a preference of one side over the other, specifically for TROS?
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Valamir
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« Reply #63 on: September 23, 2002, 08:55:34 AM »

Interestingly...I don't know if I care.

What I mean by that is this.  When sitting around talking about the game, I'd fall firmly on the Simulationist, 10 TO is just silly side of things.

But having actually played...TO is such a trivial factor in the overall intensity and had so little impact in the enjoyment of the game...not a big deal.  The "Balance" folks are right that there are enough checks and balances to prevent "abusing" TO in a way that ruins the games enjoyment for others...but for me...don't know that it really matters.
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Thirsty Viking
Member

Posts: 238


« Reply #64 on: September 23, 2002, 09:19:14 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
They just don't like the idea that difference between TO 4 and TO 10 is the equivelent of a suit of plate mail, and that it's a little silly to assume that an average person can increase his imperviousness to weapon damage the equivelent of a sheet of metal simply by working on his Toughness.

I love the dichotomy of perspectives.


These same people seem to ignore the fact that a STR10 dagger attack does the same cutting damage as a str4  Very Long Dopplehander. and 5 levels more damage when used to thrust.   If you're going to have str 10 charachter attack a guy in platemail like he was nude, then there is no reason to limit tougness.
Problems are plentiful if you feel a need for something to criticize.  

As for ever escalating challenges....  that is VERY REALISTIC.  The CEO of Chrysler doesn't spend his Time running a lemonade stand made out of scrap lumber on the corner of a subdivision.  Mean Joe Green (ok i'm 35, MANY TIME ALL-PRO DEFENSIVE TACKLE NFL) Didn't continue to compete in PeeWee/highschool/college football leagues when he had superbowl rings.  And President Clinton  didn't run for office on a local schoolboard after his last term as president.  

It isn't that the challenges necessarily escalated (usually they were always there), it was that the players weren't up to them before, and/or weren't of sufficient power/noteriety to attract the attention of more powerful foes.  The powerful folks were too busy in thier struggles with other powerful folks to focus more attention on the PC's.
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Nil_Spartan@I_Hate_Hotmail_Spam.Com
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John Doerter   Nashville TN
Jaif
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Posts: 327


« Reply #65 on: September 23, 2002, 10:25:52 AM »

Quote
What I mean by that is this. When sitting around talking about the game, I'd fall firmly on the Simulationist, 10 TO is just silly side of things.


That's where I'm coming from.  Not that it's undoable, just that it doesn't work for me in my gaming.

Quote
Does this mean that the characters in your game never advance and get better...or do they face the same level of challenge all the time?


Good question, and my fault for phrasing things poorly.  Let me try this - I don't raise the 'level' (in classic D&D terms) of an opponent simply to give the players a challenge.  If the players are running around knocking off bandit camps in the western half of the kingdom, I don't make each camp stronger and stronger as the characters build.  I may make different challenges - maybe the next camp is well hidden, or maybe the local town is actually a bandit town and not the friendlies the player's thought - but I won't add a ton of bandits, or make each bandit a superman, just because the players over-match them.  I believe it trivializes the advances the players made - what's the point of bettering your character if the GM is just going to make everybody you run into more powerful.

However, this doesn't mean the campaign becomes less challenging.  This means that at some point the players move onto greater challenges of their own accord.  So, I may toss a hint in one bandit camp that the bandits are receiving supplies from the evil nasty kingdom across the border.  If the players decide to keep poking bandits, then life stays easy.  If they go across the border, they've just slipped into the unknown.

What I wrote above is a couple paragraphs of rebuttal, not a legal brief.  Yes, the players make decisions and I don't just lead them around by the nose; no, I'm not always predictable - there might be a bandit of unusual strength and size in the fire swamps.  However, I don't do that  simply because some player spent a bunch of points and made a tougher character.

Last, I really hate the style of gaming I'm reading here, this from a player's perspective.  I decide I want to be the toughest guy in the world (in the real world sense of 'tough', not restricted to game language), so I spend tons of points on toughness.  After one fight where I do great, every single attacker we face is now using poison weapons, bypassing my toughness to strike at health.  Fine, I toss points into health too, only to find that poison is no longer on the menu, but fireballs are.  Blech, if the GM wants to beat me, all he has to do is say so and he's won already.

No thanks.

-Jeff
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Nick the Nevermet
Member

Posts: 352


« Reply #66 on: September 23, 2002, 10:56:53 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
Interestingly...I don't know if I care.



Perfectly understandable answer the way you explained it.
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Thirsty Viking
Member

Posts: 238


« Reply #67 on: September 23, 2002, 01:05:48 PM »

Quote from: Jaif

Last, I really hate the style of gaming I'm reading here, this from a player's perspective.  I decide I want to be the toughest guy in the world (in the real world sense of 'tough', not restricted to game language), so I spend tons of points on toughness.  After one fight where I do great, every single attacker we face is now using poison weapons, bypassing my toughness to strike at health.  Fine, I toss points into health too, only to find that poison is no longer on the menu, but fireballs are.  Blech, if the GM wants to beat me, all he has to do is say so and he's won already.

No thanks.

-Jeff


Yeah we hate to have intelligent foes....  it's so much nicer when we can knock over the same weak orc  week in week out.  And he always makes the same errors in judgement that the previous weeks orc did.

I'm not saying that your gamemaster handled your scaling correctly,  but the truth is the higher level charachters are always out there.  If not then you have close seconds gunning for you...  studying you,  finding your weakness  Just like a smartly run player will try to discover the weakness in his foe to exploit them.  

THAT is the way worlds work.  Charachters that advance either: take on bigger challenges, Stagnate, or RETIRE.  TROS specifically lists starting charachters as somewhat average. Some other systems make charachters much more advanced to start.
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John Doerter   Nashville TN
Valamir
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« Reply #68 on: September 23, 2002, 01:21:31 PM »

I think you're missing his point Vik.

If I read him correctly, he's talking about, what we on the Forge call "niche protection".  In other words he's stakeing a claim to the facet of his character that he wants illustrated as being "heroic" in the game.

If I were playing Hercules, I'd expect that my character would in fact have plenty of opportunity to demonstrate his enormous strength, and use it to get out of his bad situations.  The occassional event where my strength proved futile would serve as an interesting contrast, but by and large my character is about being enormously strong, and I expect that to be featured in a good way...not to let me run rough shod over the game rules...but because that's my schtick.

Similiarly if Jaif wanted a character whose schtick was being "the tough guy", than the GM should make sure that he has plenty of opportunities to illustrate just how tough he is...including manufacturing a few opponents who serve no other purpose than to highlight his toughness.  In other words...give him the opportunity to shine in his chosen area of uniqueness...his niche.

But if instead what happens is that the GM thwarts every attempt to demonstrate his toughness by making it standard proceedure to circumvent it at every turn...Jaif is right...that's poor GMing.  That's not playing intellegent enemies who learn to circumvent a character's strengths...that's taking the protagonist of the story and deemphasizing his importance in a way that leaves the player wondering "why did I even bother...I might as well have created Joe nobody".
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Thirsty Viking
Member

Posts: 238


« Reply #69 on: September 23, 2002, 01:22:19 PM »

Quote from: Jaif

Quote
Does this mean that the characters in your game never advance and get better...or do they face the same level of challenge all the time?


Good question, and my fault for phrasing things poorly.  Let me try this - I don't raise the 'level' (in classic D&D terms) of an opponent simply to give the players a challenge.  If the players are running around knocking off bandit camps in the western half of the kingdom, I don't make each camp stronger and stronger as the characters build.  I may make different challenges - maybe the next camp is well hidden, or maybe the local town is actually a bandit town and not the friendlies the player's thought - but I won't add a ton of bandits, or make each bandit a superman, just because the players over-match them.  I believe it trivializes the advances the players made - what's the point of bettering your character if the GM is just going to make everybody you run into more powerful.


Your right, done propperly the charchters should have known about several different camps at the start.   Some of which were obviously too strong for them at this time.  Then the charachters will chose which challenges to take on first.   Note however that word gets around...  if these bandits are in reality a growing rebellion,  several smaller camps may combine for protection when thier allies start disappearing,   or scatter for concealment.  As a GM  I always made sure my players "SAW" adventures which would probably kill them if persued now...  but that they could come back to later.
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Nil_Spartan@I_Hate_Hotmail_Spam.Com
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John Doerter   Nashville TN
Apprentice of Steel
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #70 on: September 23, 2002, 01:37:01 PM »

yes the one with To10 Should have to wade past blows from a hundered sides though to try and start a plot hook let there be this

Someone wanting to be evil and not stupid

He researches those heroes likly to stop him,

He works out what their thing is,

He learns their weaknesses,

He sends out assassins and goons to kill them all,

Beigns the plan


So the archer is ambushed by a guy in a foxhole in the sort of place he always snipes from

The Toughguy gets hit with a bow lots with nasty poison (contact of course, probably wont get through the skin otherwise)


etc


Now hopefully the party manage to beat their way through,
highjinxs ensues as party find out who tried to off them why and what to do about it
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Thirsty Viking
Member

Posts: 238


« Reply #71 on: September 23, 2002, 01:42:06 PM »

Obviously I haven't seen enough of his adventures to know.  I did hear that he survived the poison, and the fireballs I think.  I know nothing about his group.  Not even the # of player charachters.  The Hercules and Zena campaigns are an awful lot like Buffy.  Where the whole campaign centers on one charachter, and the bit parts get moments in the sun at different points.

Was the whole party centered on TOUGHMAN?   If so then I can see some of your arguments...  If however it was an ensemble cast like FRIENDS then there are times when someone elses abilities are just more useful, and thier stories are more central.  That being said,  A Hercules type charachter, attracts enemies who think they have an edge through use of something different against him.   How often does hercules get challenged to arm wrestle by a deadly foe who seeks him out.  In mythology I believe he did die by poison administered by the woman who loved him IIRC.

Obviously  there is a dearth of information for an accurate assessment of the events in the "WORLDS TOUGHEST MAN" campaign.  There are almost always ways for a player to apply his sticht....  Now a charachter unbalanced with toughness, is harder to apply, toughness is largely a passive stat  unless you play secret service on the presidential detail.  Any charachter known to shrug off wounds like a warm evening rain, is likely to encounter poison, if people know he's coming up against them and know he's almost immune to normal damage.  

There are just too many variables to accurately assess what was going on without hearing complete stories from him, the Seneschal and another player.  The player saw his toughness being highlighted in only one battle after he raised it...   How Highlighted?  enough for a bard to sing of the battle?  Enough to garner some local fame? Enough for the fame to spread?  how many low end encounters had thier been  that the player didn't consider important?  What subplots did the Sen. offer that the party didn't chase after?  Did they chose not to go after them for a reason? Did the charachter just miss them? ...  Did the party do things in previous adventures to bring forth the poison/fireball  counter attack?  Certainly chosing to attack a ninja clan, or a mage school  would mean those adventures faced poison/magic respectivly.

Now if the complaint was that TO didn't affect poison or magic,  then saddly that is true.  but when you unballance 1 stat in hopes of being the best at something,  others sufer..  Playing through the weaknes  is the soul of good roleplaying IMO.
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Nil_Spartan@I_Hate_Hotmail_Spam.Com
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John Doerter   Nashville TN
Jaif
Member

Posts: 327


« Reply #72 on: September 23, 2002, 06:18:00 PM »

We are a bit off track, but valamir got it pretty much, and gave the concept a name in the process <g>.  I have no problem with smart enemies who figure out how to overcome me.  But when the pattern is that the whole world is altered everytime I advance my character to counter my advancement, that's silly.

Oh, I should add that my toughman character actually did exist in a high-powered ICE campaign, and did not experience this situation.  I just used it to illustrate, partly because I loved that character.

-Jeff
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Thirsty Viking
Member

Posts: 238


« Reply #73 on: September 23, 2002, 07:30:52 PM »

ok so the entire situation was a fake,  You made it sound to me like something that was on going and happening to you.

The truth is  that High powered charachters will change the world with thier actions.    It wouldn't have been your stat action that caused the reaction among your enemies...  it would have been the failure of other methods.   The fact that you listed changing your charchter to addresse failed attacks against you,  would be the same thing your enemies would do.  In your example you already suvived the poison.  Time for your foes to seek a new method.  Besides, poison wil not be the first alternative option of everyone...  magic usually implies mages.

As for niche-protectection,  let us add the concept of niche-projection.  This is the responsibility of the PLAYER.  The player is responsible for analyzing a situation and finding new ways to apply his abilities.  Both as a GM and a player  I've seen the entire course of metaplots  change because of innovative strategy by a player.  
The time I did it, I was playing Captain America...  we had been framed, were being hunted by the authorities and getting our buts kicked by the helfire club.   I looked through my sheet ....  hmmm  unearthly popularity...  I walked into a local televison station and gave an interview in which I spilled everything.  In pre Cable Giant Days..   The story was sat upon by the major networks,   but viewers recorded the interview and broadcast it over Ham Radio. Repressed by the bad guys in the major media the story was picked up by the SUPERMARKET TABLOIDS...   Didn't entirely solve our problems...  but it got Nick Fury(who we hadn't been able to contact directly) kicking buts in SHIELD and rooting out the corruption,  and the Army Stopped hunting us while doing it's own internal investigation.  This allowed us to go for the bad guys short circuiting weeks of side plots our GM had developed...  He wasn't overly happy,  In years of running marvel he told me he'd never had anyone use Caps'  popularity (or anyone elses' that he could recall) as a weapon before.  Let alone turn a whole campaign with it.

The point being...  no charachter made super one dimensional should expect to have everything catered to that dimension.  Nor should any charachter achieving noteriety expect enemies to be non adaptive.  Early charachters staying in the cheap inns are more likely to be dealing with purse snatching and possibly kidnapping than the same charachters staying in high priced inns later in thier career,  but far less likely to see political intrigue of the power elite, even if they did witness some of it, they probably weren't in the know enough to piece together the information.  Kinda like an FBI field agent seeing three middle easterners in flight training,  he didn't have the power to follow up propperly, he reported what he saw and went on, had he seen it as FBI director though ....

If you can't understand that the charachters themselves evolve and change as they progress in the world.  That they will be operating on different levels as thier skills, fame, power increase, and that thier opponents will try to exploit untried areas  rather than always repeating failed strategies...  then we will never agree.  The typical PC in my experience relishes in noteriety.  Those that operate in the shadows, will have less fame, and fewer effects.  But those that DO know of them will still modify thier tactics looking for weakness.

This doesn't mean that every time a stat is raised everything faced by the player changes...  noone ever suggested that.  We did say that if TOUGHMAN goes arround making a name for himself as the "WORLDs' TOUGHEST MAN"  that he will atract people who think they can dethrone him by hook or by crook.  If he is a loyal ally and frequent servent of the king,  the people who are enemies of king level charachters (this king in particular) will take note and seek to remove him from the kings' side.

I've rambled enough on this issue.  IF you baby your PLAYERS,  you'll hurt your game far more than your expressed fears IMO.
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John Doerter   Nashville TN
Holt
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #74 on: September 23, 2002, 07:34:25 PM »

Quote from: Valamir

But if instead what happens is that the GM thwarts every attempt to demonstrate his toughness by making it standard proceedure to circumvent it at every turn...Jaif is right...that's poor GMing.  That's not playing intellegent enemies who learn to circumvent a character's strengths...that's taking the protagonist of the story and deemphasizing his importance in a way that leaves the player wondering "why did I even bother...I might as well have created Joe nobody".


Jeff,

Thanks to Valamir, I now understand what it is that you meant, and I totally agree. This has happened to me too in the past. Sorry about any misunderstanding. :)

-Holt
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