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Personality mechanics that work(for you)

Started by sirogit, August 15, 2003, 08:27:10 AM

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M. J. Young

Quote from: When Daniel 'gobi' Solis
Quote from: quoting first what IIt would be interesting to try to design that into play; to pair advantages with disadvantages in sensible ways. I suspect, though, that it would be too difficult to really do it well.

I think the whole concept of an advantage and a disadvantage is dated concept, honestly.
I think he misunderstood my intent, and initiated an entire digression based on that misunderstanding.

I wasn't talking about spending points at all. I wasn't really talking about a list of ads and a list of disads.

I was talking about a system in which characteristics were defined such that each was defined for both positive and negative aspects.
    [*]Character has an acute sense of smell which makes him able to identify someone and even to some degree track them by their scent, but can't stand to be in a crowded room for more than mere minutes before being overcome by perfumes and body odors.[*]Character is particularly observant of things that are out of place, and so has an innate sense of what has been changed in any location, but is also overly meticulous about detail and annoying to everyone around him.[*]Character has an incredible intellect which enables him to understand science and technology (or magic or psychology or some other field) in great detail, but has difficulty making himself understood by others because he tends to talk above their heads and assume that they understand what he is saying.[/list:u]Things like that.

    With that sort of system, you could actually take as many traits as you wanted, as long as they were self-balancing.

    It occurs to me that Legends of Alyria does this in a somewhat cleverly indirect way. Your character characteristics are positive and negative; but they can be used for you or against you regardless of which way the lie on the sheet. Someone has to come up with a narrative explanation of why it is that your pride or your scruples or your nastiness works the way it does in this situation, but anything that is your best or worst trait can be used equally in any situation in which someone can figure a way to use it.

    That's probably a rules lite approach, and maybe considerably more useful than trying to create the benies and banes of each trait as part of the rules. That's the sort of thing I was after--not some buy this for the price of that idea.

    --M. J. Young

    Daniel Solis

    Quote from: M. J. YoungI think he misunderstood my intent, and initiated an entire digression based on that misunderstanding.

    Yikes, I'm sorry for causing such a severe detour if it was all based on a misunderstanding. I do like the self-balancing traits you described, however. It's definitely in line with my preferred playstyle. Again, apologies for causing a ruckus. :(
    ¡El Luchacabra Vive!
    -----------------------
    Meatbot Massacre
    Giant robot combat. No carbs.

    Windthin

    Quote from: gobiI think the whole concept of an advantage and a disadvantage is dated concept, honestly. Anything that describes the character should be considered a trait and leave it at that. Its mechanical value should be determined in the context of the actions being taken and in what way they affect the dramatic tension either in or against the character's favor.

    I frankly agree with this; some traits hold both pros and cons, some are fitted to different situations, and some just... are.  They're part of the character, all of them, and should be threated as such, not split into two categories, positive and negative.  That's a tendency, pigeon-holing, I try to avoid (and the primary reason why I absolutely despise alignments).
    "Write what you know" takes on interesting connotations when one sets out to create worlds...

    Windthin

    Some traits really are a little one-sided on the outset: Phobia water, for example.  Over-coming such a fear, however, can be intriguing and rewarding to see.  I agree with what M.J. says here, about traits which hold a little of the good and the bad.  Keen senses definitely go both ways, especially in terms of the eyes and ears... but a highly-developed sense of touch might also mean one is easily irritated, rather ticklish, or does not suffer pain well.  Even now, however, we really are looking at the pros and cons of each trait... which, well, let's face it, IS part of working something into the system.  While this is necessary, I feel it is also important to remember the broader effect of character traits and quirks, just as you a Strength stat and you have the way this is expression, which goes beyond a simple number.
    "Write what you know" takes on interesting connotations when one sets out to create worlds...

    kamikaze

    Quote from: Jack Spencer JrI think it has less to do with munchkins or GNS priorities as it does with negative point values are a bad idea. Or, are difficult to get to work well at the very least.

    I cite the mass combat rules for original D&D Swords & Spells which gave Orcs a point value of -1. Murphy's Rules noted that you could technically have an infinite number of them.

    This problem is evident in negative-point valued disadvantages. IIRC my GM used an arbitrary cap, which is in the book if I am not mistaken.  The effect was taking many social/mental disadvantage to gain additional points to spend on combat abilities.

    You're conflating total negative point costs for a character with negative modifiers.  They're not the same.  If a point-buy system allows you to come out with a zero or negative total for a unit, then there's a flaw in *that specific set of rules*.

    Hero and GURPS both have positive point totals to start with, limit the number of disads you can take (150 base+100 disads is standard for superheroes in Hero, 100+40 in GURPS).  You can build negative-point characters in both systems, but neither one requires you to pick N total points of characters, so it's not a problem.

    Quote from: Jack Spencer JrOften, these disadvantages didn't have much effect on the game. One time the player who took Odious Personal Habit: Constantly Humming was told by the GM to stop doing that. Five points for free, then.

    This was sheer incompetence on the part of the Judge, but it's also obnoxious behavior on the part of the player, who probably was a munchkin looking for exactly that result.  The character having a disad doesn't mean the player has to.

    The right way to handle that is to give the player a sign that indicates when the character is humming or not humming, and penalize any kind of stealth or social interactions while the character is doing so; the Will check to stop a disad will probably make it crippling.

    If the Judge felt that the character shouldn't have that disad, stripping it and the 5 points worth of stuff from the character is mandatory.  Allowing a player to slide on it, or getting rid of negative-point disads, is not good gaming.

    Really, though, you're getting worked up over nothing.  If you add X (where -X is the cost of the most expensive disad) to every ad or disad, and give the characters N*X free points, they're all positive, without changing the effects at all.  It's just a mathematical convenience.

    Hunter Logan

    Quote from: M. J. Young
    I wasn't talking about spending points at all. I wasn't really talking about a list of ads and a list of disads.

    I was talking about a system in which characteristics were defined such that each was defined for both positive and negative aspects.
      [*]Character has an acute sense of smell which makes him able to identify someone and even to some degree track them by their scent, but can't stand to be in a crowded room for more than mere minutes before being overcome by perfumes and body odors.[*]Character is particularly observant of things that are out of place, and so has an innate sense of what has been changed in any location, but is also overly meticulous about detail and annoying to everyone around him.[*]Character has an incredible intellect which enables him to understand science and technology (or magic or psychology or some other field) in great detail, but has difficulty making himself understood by others because he tends to talk above their heads and assume that they understand what he is saying.[/list:u]Things like that.

      With that sort of system, you could actually take as many traits as you wanted, as long as they were self-balancing.

      --M. J. Young

      MJ,
      This is excellent. I've been thinking about this sort of arrangement myself, and you've expressed it quite well.

      Paul Czege

      Hey M.J.,

      I was talking about a system in which characteristics were defined such that each was defined for both positive and negative aspects.
        [*]Character has an acute sense of smell which makes him able to identify someone and even to some degree track them by their scent, but can't stand to be in a crowded room for more than mere minutes before being overcome by perfumes and body odors.[*]Character is particularly observant of things that are out of place, and so has an innate sense of what has been changed in any location, but is also overly meticulous about detail and annoying to everyone around him.[*]Character has an incredible intellect which enables him to understand science and technology (or magic or psychology or some other field) in great detail, but has difficulty making himself understood by others because he tends to talk above their heads and assume that they understand what he is saying.[/list:u]Things like that.


        Those are great! I know you don't own the game, but have you seen any of the discussions in the My Life with Master playtest forum about the More than Human/Less than Human mechanics? Lesseee...check out http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=3339">this thread...

        Paul
        My Life with Master knows codependence.
        And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans

        Windthin

        Quote from: kamikaze
        Quote from: Jack Spencer JrOften, these disadvantages didn't have much effect on the game. One time the player who took Odious Personal Habit: Constantly Humming was told by the GM to stop doing that. Five points for free, then.

        This was sheer incompetence on the part of the Judge, but it's also obnoxious behavior on the part of the player, who probably was a munchkin looking for exactly that result.  The character having a disad doesn't mean the player has to.

        The right way to handle that is to give the player a sign that indicates when the character is humming or not humming, and penalize any kind of stealth or social interactions while the character is doing so; the Will check to stop a disad will probably make it crippling.

        If the Judge felt that the character shouldn't have that disad, stripping it and the 5 points worth of stuff from the character is mandatory.  Allowing a player to slide on it, or getting rid of negative-point disads, is not good gaming.

        I'd agree on this, really; the player was seeking something for nothing, and the GM let them have it.  You can even go so far as to assume the character IS constantly humming when capable of it (after all, that IS what that flaw states), and apply penalties as necessary, with forced rolls to suppress the habit in required situations.
        "Write what you know" takes on interesting connotations when one sets out to create worlds...

        Jack Spencer Jr

        Quote from: WindthinI'd agree on this, really; the player was seeking something for nothing, and the GM let them have it.  You can even go so far as to assume the character IS constantly humming when capable of it (after all, that IS what that flaw states), and apply penalties as necessary, with forced rolls to suppress the habit in required situations.
        Actually, no. You gents are assuming quite a bit her. Suffice to say that she wasn't  after something for nothing and was actually upset about not getting to play out her character, such as it was. But this is neiother here nor there for the discussion. Either way the rule was a break point rather than a tool that facillitated roleplaying.

        RaconteurX

        One very excellent set of personality mechanics which I have not yet seen mentioned can be found in Paul Kidd's Albedo and Lace & Steel. Paul has authored perhaps the most realistic mechanics I have seen to render the effect of a character's emotional state, while remaining simple and easy to comprehend. At least in my opinion... :)

        Characters have ties and antipathies which represent, respectively, feelings of amity or enmity toward certain persons, nations, ideas, etc. Reinforce one's sentiment... help a thing with which one has a tie, or hinder a thing with which one has an antipathy... and gain a temporary bonus to Self-Image, which can aid in recovery from injuries, increase the likelihood of learning from experience or study, and generally boost morale and confidence. Fail to aid a loved one, or inadvertently help a foe, and Self-Image is penalized to your detriment.

        Daniel Solis

        Quote from: RaconteurXCharacters have ties and antipathies which represent, respectively, feelings of amity or enmity toward certain persons, nations, ideas, etc. Reinforce one's sentiment... help a thing with which one has a tie, or hinder a thing with which one has an antipathy... and gain a temporary bonus to Self-Image, which can aid in recovery from injuries, increase the likelihood of learning from experience or study, and generally boost morale and confidence. Fail to aid a loved one, or inadvertently help a foe, and Self-Image is penalized to your detriment.

        Oooh. That's really good. I think I may be working up something like that for PUNK, replace self-image with "punk points" and "ties & antipathies" with the three punk passions "fight, fuck, flight" and there ya go.

        A modified Lace & Steel mechanic would be a really, really cool way to handle some sort of ghost role-playing game. Some sort of setting where the characters are so difficult to kill or so rarely enter physical combat that it's silly to have hit points and whatnot, so the primary detriment of that sort of action is that the character could fail, not that he could die. Hmm... This would be fantastic for a side project I'm working on. I was wondering how to handle combat where fear of death wasn't a consideration, but which would have some sort of decisive negative outcome upon failure and positive outcome upon success.
        ¡El Luchacabra Vive!
        -----------------------
        Meatbot Massacre
        Giant robot combat. No carbs.

        RaconteurX

        Quote from: gobiI may be working up something like that for PUNK, replace self-image with "punk points" and "ties & antipathies" with the three punk passions "fight, fuck, flight" and there ya go.

        Perhaps PUNK could use something like "cred" (sadly, I do not recall any of the colorful slang we used for such things back in '81 to '83... my punk days)in lieu of Lace & Steel's Self-Image. There must be some marveously evocative term which could be purloined from current-day British skinhead (punk, not neo-Nazi) slang. Oh, and I am not sure that "flight" is really suitable as a passion. Most punks I knew were more concerned with fun (dancing, drinking, and freaking the straights) than running away from anyone or anything. :)

        Daniel Solis

        Quote from: RaconteurX
        Quote from: gobiPerhaps PUNK could use something like "cred" (sadly, I do not recall any of the colorful slang we used for such things back in '81 to '83... my punk days)

        Hey, I'm good with Cred. :) Let's take this conversation to PMs though, I don't want to take another thread wildly off-topic. :P
        ¡El Luchacabra Vive!
        -----------------------
        Meatbot Massacre
        Giant robot combat. No carbs.