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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: E.P. for Healers  (Read 4209 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2003, 05:44:26 PM »

Hi John,

I think you're going off the rails a bit regarding the GNS stuff. I don't think it's relevant.

The real question was laid down by Mike - what, exactly, is being rewarded. You say "good role-playing," but that means absolutely nothing to anyone besides yourself. There's no way I or anyone can interpret that.

Can you break it down into one or the other of these?

1. Rewarding players for playing in a certain way?

vs.

2. Improving characters based on their in-game actions according to the logic of the in-game world?

These aren't as easy to tease apart as one might think. For example, in Tunnels & Trolls, it's #1 - but the way players are rewarded is to have their characters improve in effectiveness. It's only when you check to see what the Adventure Points are awarded for (usually guts and pluck, in that game) that the distinction becomes clearer.

Now, based on your last post, it sounds like #1. But what do you mean by "good role-playing," in terms of the players getting a reward? Can you give a couple of examples of role-playing that really, definitely would get rewarded by you? And a couple as well of role-playing that really, definitely would not?

Those examples would help me a lot. Right now, I'm looking at the thread and I can't imagine what to say, without them.

Best,
Ron
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John Kirk
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« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2003, 12:16:15 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Can you break it down into one or the other of these?

1. Rewarding players for playing in a certain way?

vs.

2. Improving characters based on their in-game actions according to the logic of the in-game world?


If you mean by #1 that I reward players for "acting" their role or providing interesting descriptions of what their characters do, then I definately do NOT reward based on #1.  There are no rules in LQ that provide any rewards along these lines.

Similarly, if you mean by #2 that I reward players for merely having performed an action (such as swinging a sword or casting a spell), then I definately do not reward based on #2, either.

If you mean by #2 that I reward players for accomplishing something, that fits the bill.  I reward players for overcoming obstacles blocking the path to a preset goal (a Quest).

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Can you give a couple of examples of role-playing that really, definitely would get rewarded by you? And a couple as well of role-playing that really, definitely would not?


If a party is on a quest to obtain the fabled Golden Goose (or some such mulligan) and encounters a hag on the way, those who contribute to a successful encounter with the hag get E.P.  They don't have to kill the hag or even battle it.  If they can somehow dupe the hag into just leaving them alone, they get E.P.  If the Golden Goose is inside a locked cage, anyone who contributes to opening the lock or getting past the bars gets E.P.  The amount of E.P. awarded depends on the difficulty of the task and the risk associated with it.  They get nothing for actually picking up the Golden Goose.

If a thief sits at home with a roomful of locks and picks locks all day long, day after day, he would not get any experience regardless of the difficulty simply because there was no risk involved and no goal in mind.  In other words, there was no "Quest".  If a swordsman spars with his comrade, no E.P. is awarded for the same reason.  Now, some of the suggestions given me have made me consider whether it would be best to give the thief and swordsman a little E.P. for their "practicing", but historically I have refused this.
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John Kirk

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2003, 08:04:23 AM »

Hi John,

Actually, I think you've interpreted my #1-2 in a different way from my intention, so I will keep going with my explanation.

In #1, I'm not talking about role-playing one's character. When I say "a certain way," I mean, any way that you as the GM are hoping to see. Doesn't matter whether it's role-playing in the acting-sense or not.

In #2, your second interpretation is more on target, but I hope you can see that it's exactly the same as #1. You want the players (note, not the characters) to be involved in play in a certain way. Presented with a problem or concern, they have to get into it, emotionally, and deal with it in a fun and imaginative way. Combat or no combat, role-playing (in terms of "acting") or not, you demand this involvement and imagination.

Do I have that right? That's a #1 thing. It's an expectation of your players' behavior.

So - in that case, the only reasonable concern you should have is to make a reward system that focuses on exactly that. Did the player invest in the situation and provide neat stuff to happen? Then wham - reward. Never mind the actions involved (combat, no combat, etc, etc, which skills, healing, not healing, etc, etc). In many ways, it doesn't matter what they do as long as (as you put it) they accomplish something with what they do.

Once you have that principle down, then the next question is whether you want to distinguish among players in terms of how much. A lot of rules-sets assume this is a good idea: "+1 for the player who ..." and that sort of thing. In terms of this type of reward system, though, I tend to think of this as unnecessary. Did we do our thing well? OK, five points for everyone, be done.

And finally, the next principle is what the points may be spent on. That's a whole 'nother issue, and I'll hold off on discussing it, based on your response to my points so far.

Best,
Ron
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John Kirk
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2003, 07:02:40 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Presented with a problem or concern, they have to get into it, emotionally, and deal with it in a fun and imaginative way.  Combat or no combat, role-playing (in terms of "acting") or not, you demand this involvement and imagination.

Do I have that right? That's a #1 thing. It's an expectation of your players' behavior.


Ummm.  No.  The "Combat or no combat, role-playing (in terms of "acting") or not" part is right, but the rest isn't.  Presented with a problem or concern, the players have to find a way to overcome it.  They could sit there bored as a post and dejectedly roll dice all the way through it and they'd get the E.P.  Now, I rarely have players that are bored out of their minds, but there's nothing built into the reward system that says the player has to "get into it" emotionally.  

I am going to be very careful in my wording of the next sentence, so as to avoid further confusion (since I have apparently done a poor job so far of explaining LQ's reward system):

The only criteria determining whether a character gains E.P. is if the player had his character perform actions that resulted in his character succeeding in overcoming some obstacle while on a Quest for some pre-determined end goal.

I get the sense that you want it to be more than that, but it simply isn't.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
In many ways, it doesn't matter what they do as long as (as you put it) they accomplish something with what they do.


Yes.  Exactly.  But, if you'll recall I started this thread because of a specific instance that fell "through the cracks" and made we wonder whether LQ's reward system needed some patching.  I'm not planning on revamping the whole thing.  The problem simply was that the Healer of the group healed some party members in desperate need of help after E.P. had already been distributed for the battle that caused the damage.  The obstacle doing the damage had already been overcome and the Healer was not even present for the battle, so had absolutely no impact on its victory.  The party was expecting more trouble at some point in the future, so the Healer very rightly felt the need to help his cohorts out.  But, at the time of the healing, nobody had any idea when or how the next obstacle might arise.  In fact, the next encounter was on the following day.  At first, I didn't give this a second thought, but I found out later that the player was really disappointed that he didn't get any kind of reward for the healing.  I tend to agree with him.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
And finally, the next principle is what the points may be spent on.


E.P. is spent on skills in Legendary Quest to raise the skill's "level".  The amount of E.P. needed to raise a skill from one level to the next is exponential.  So, there is a built-in law of diminishing returns.
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John Kirk

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clehrich
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2003, 08:32:44 PM »

Quote
The problem simply was that the Healer of the group healed some party members in desperate need of help after E.P. had already been distributed for the battle that caused the damage. The obstacle doing the damage had already been overcome and the Healer was not even present for the battle, so had absolutely no impact on its victory. The party was expecting more trouble at some point in the future, so the Healer very rightly felt the need to help his cohorts out. But, at the time of the healing, nobody had any idea when or how the next obstacle might arise.

Let me point out that you've implicitly defined "obstacle" as "something that can do damage."  If you want to stick to this, then Healing should not get E.P., as it doesn't overcome obstacles that cause damage, unless you are willing to consider that people are less likely to get into situations that might cause damage without a healer nearby.  But why define "obstacle" so narrowly?  Is that required in LQ?  I mean, in the situation you've proposed, the obstacle in question when the healer gets there might well be that the PCs don't have a lot of hit points or equivalent, and thus will get wasted next time around.  If that's a legitimate obstacle, then Healing overcomes it.

Seems to me that there's a few ways to deal with this:

1. Assume that PCs don't get into damaging situations without a healer, and thus healing after the fact was implicit in the damaging situation; therefore the healer gets E.P.

2. Assume that healers have different obstacles than do fighters; their big obstacle is readiness for unknown situations, and thus healing the gang in preparation gains E.P.

3. Assume that obstacles are solely and in a limited sense situations that cause damage, in which case healing after the fact or before it does not gain E.P.; only healing during a fight gains E.P.

Are there others I've missed?
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Chris Lehrich
John Kirk
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« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2003, 08:38:51 AM »

Quote from: clehrich
Let me point out that you've implicitly defined "obstacle" as "something that can do damage."
...
But why define "obstacle" so narrowly? Is that required in LQ?


I do not intend to imply that only damaging situations are obstacles.  But I must admit that they do tend in that direction most of the time.  That is probably due to the fact that the amount of E.P. awarded depends on both the difficulty and risk associated with overcoming an obstacle.  Without some kind of potential bad consequences for failure, there is no risk and therefore no potential for E.P.

Quote from: clehrich
Seems to me that there's a few ways to deal with this:

1. Assume that PCs don't get into damaging situations without a healer, and thus healing after the fact was implicit in the damaging situation; therefore the healer gets E.P.

That is how I would normally play it.  But in this case the healing came sufficiently long after the fact that E.P. had already been awarded.  That is what has been bothering me, in fact.  Why should the amount/distribution of E.P. awarded have anything to do with when I hand out the actual award?  The encounter was over and done with (so I had thought) and I handed out E.P.  On the other hand, perhaps this was merely a case of Premature Adjudication.

Quote from: clehrich
2. Assume that healers have different obstacles than do fighters; their big obstacle is readiness for unknown situations, and thus healing the gang in preparation gains E.P.

Yes, this was my thought.  But wouldn't that simply mean that they would gain a share of the award for the next obstacle?  If not, what criteria could I use for determining the amount of E.P. awarded (since it would not be based on difficulty and risk).

Quote from: clehrich
3. Assume that obstacles are solely and in a limited sense situations that cause damage, in which case healing after the fact or before it does not gain E.P.; only healing during a fight gains E.P.

This option doesn't sit well with me.  I feel that healers are an important element in a group's success.  And, if a player wants to take it to the extreme of having a pacifist character that is focused entirely on Healing and refuses to deal damage, then that would be an interesting (albeit difficult) character limitation that could provide some really interesting role-play.  I would like to find a rational way to reward his actions.  At the same time, I don't like the idea of creating a special reward system just for healers.  

Quote from: clehrich
Are there others I've missed?

Let's see, if I can paraphrase the three reward options:
1) Healing is awarded for overcoming the obstacle delivering the damage
2) Healing is awarded for preparation in overcoming the next obstacle
3) Healing is not awarded for overcoming obstacles, but has its own reward system.

I think that covers the bases and clarifies the situation nicely.  I don't like option 3, since that would entail a whole new rule-set for healers.  Option 1 did not work in this case, since the award had already been handed out by the time the healing was performed.  (Which, as I said, may simply be regarded as my fault in handing out E.P. too early.)  Option 2 would mean that the E.P. would be handed out based on the next encounter.

So, it boils down to this:  Did I simply hand out E.P. too early in this encounter?  In that case, this whole situation is merely a GMing problem, not a rule problem.  Or, rather, does this situation point out a flaw in the rules I use to hand out E.P.?

Thanks for your excellent analysis.
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John Kirk

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