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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 92 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Die Mechanics & NPCs  (Read 3883 times)
jburneko
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« on: July 02, 2002, 10:53:49 AM »

Hello,

Okay, so here I am preping for my upcoming game (WAY EXCITED) and I suddenly had a thought.  How do all the bonuses and what not affect NPCs?

There are some bonuses that are 'in-game' bonsues such as the weapon/tactis suggestions from Sorcerer & Sword that seem to be handled okay.  But what about bonuses from 'role-playing' and 'advancing the story'  Can the GM assign himself or get awarded bonuses from the PLAYERS if he delivers a particularly noteworthy NPC presentation?

What about Humanity?  Do NPCs make Humanity gain and loss rolls?

All this ties very much into NPC Sorcerery.  If an NPC Sorcerer wants to summon and bind a new demon during play do I go ahead and make all the roles for it as normal?  Ron has pointed out that without in-game and metagame bonuses Sorcerery is very hard so how do I work all that out for NPCs?

Just wondering.

Jesse
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2002, 11:04:55 AM »

Hi Jesse,

The key concept is that rolls in Sorcerer are only, ever, about protagonist conflict.

The tricky part is that this means, sometimes you roll for NPCs doing sorcery or Humanity stuff, and sometimes you don't. If the event is directly relevant to a protagonist-oriented conflict, you do. That doesn't necessarily mean that the player-character has to be present; for instance, an NPC sorcerer might be trying to swipe his demon when he's not there.

However, if the event is not directly relevant to a protagonist-oriented conflict, you don't roll. Treat such things like the weather. If you say it's raining, it's raining. If you say that NPC-dude summons up a lizard-demon (and this event is not an immediate issue to a player-character, although it might be later), he does.

Same goes for Humanity. If a given NPC is wrestling with Humanity issues just like the PCs do, and if the players are emotionally engaged in this struggle on the part of the NPC, then let the dice be part of the process for this NPC just as they are for player-characters. Otherwise, don't worry about it.

Best,
Ron
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2002, 11:58:42 AM »

Hey Ron,

sometimes you roll for NPCs doing sorcery or Humanity stuff, and sometimes you don't. If the event is directly relevant to a protagonist-oriented conflict, you do.....if the players are emotionally engaged in this struggle on the part of the NPC, then let the dice be part of the process for this NPC just as they are for player-characters.

The treacherous part for the GM comes in assigning bonus dice for roleplaying to himself, especially if he gives himself more bonus dice into a specific conflict than the player. Do you personally do this in play? Of course a player who feels passionately about a scene is going to think his efforts deserve the greater bonus than the GM. How do you keep it from being an issue?

Paul
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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
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2002, 12:02:19 PM »

Hey,

Thanks Paul, for reminding me about the bonus dice. I'd forgotten to mention that.

Bonus dice are only granted to player-characters. No exceptions apply.

Best,
Ron
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jburneko
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Posts: 1351


« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2002, 12:17:50 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Bonus dice are only granted to player-characters. No exceptions apply.


Intresting.  This of course means that in-game Sorcerery that requires rolls is nigh impossible for NPCs especially stealing PC demons and "Quick-draw" Sorcery.  I don't expect this to ever really be an issue but it is an interesting observation.

Jesse
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Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1153


« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2002, 01:22:55 PM »

Hi all,

While I'm looking forward to Ron's answer on this, it seems to me that any Sorcerer worthy of protagist coflict might well have stat dice higher than the average PC.  Darth Vader simply is tough enough to handle the gang as they land on the Death Star.  He is the difficulty level that PCs have to beat.

Same with my sorcerer going up against an NPC sorcerer.  If he's only sort of a problem, odds he and I won't be facing off in direct conflict.  But if he's worthy of direct conflict, he'll be a bad-ass right from the get go.

It seems to me.

Christopher
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2002, 01:41:07 PM »

Hey Jesse,

This of course means that in-game Sorcerery that requires rolls is nigh impossible for NPCs especially stealing PC demons and "Quick-draw" Sorcery.

I think the lack of bonus dice for roleplaying is duly compensated for by the ability to make pre-rolls and carry successes on to subsequent rolls.

Paul
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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
Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1153


« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2002, 02:01:35 PM »

Hi Paul,

So, an example of what you're talking about might be:

 an NPC sorcerer walks onto a scene with 8 dice of summon snake god, which the GM just scribbles on the character's info, assuming that somewhere along the line the guy pulled together an 8 dice bonus.

Is that what you're talking about?

Christopher
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2002, 03:47:24 PM »

Hi there,

I'm not sure you guys are putting together the two parts of this thread.

1) NPCs do not roll under many circumstances.

2) When and if they roll, they do not get bonuses.

So the whole idea of "NPC effectiveness vs. PC effectiveness" is moot. The two things exist in a totally separate universe. The NPC is not going to roll for summoning the Snake God at all, unless that roll is to be opposed by a player-character, in some way. Or more accurately, if the player-character's story is given meat by the outcome of that roll going either way. If, on the other hand, the player-character's story is given the most meat by the action going in a particular way, then it goes in that way.

I'm not sure if I'm explaining this right. It starts by losing the whole idea that player-characters and non-player-characters exist in the same causal universe.

Best,
Ron
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Emily Care
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2002, 11:46:33 AM »

Ron wrote:
Quote
I'm not sure if I'm explaining this right. It starts by losing the whole idea that player-characters and non-player-characters exist in the same causal universe.


Here is my observation about the npc/pc split in Sorcerer: (I'm not sure if it's a useful re-stating of what's been said, but here goes.)

The need to make rolls in order to take actions constrains pc's at all times; their actions may or may not be successful based on their performance within the mechanics.  

Npc's are only constrained--they only have a chance of failure--when pc's directly oppose an npc action, or if the players are emotionally engaged in an npc's character development.  Hence, no bonuses. Why would you need to reward a character for whom the sky is the limit anyway?

However, although an npc's actions are rarely opposed by rolls, they are constantly limited by the parameters of the game (metagame issues including player contract, and genre conventions) and  the good sense of the gm.  This is enforced by the social pressures of gaming: few players will go back to play with a gm who violates this trust.  

--Emily Care
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