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Author Topic: Ingrained gaming habits (split from Feng SHui thoughts)  (Read 4520 times)
arxhon
Member

Posts: 254


« on: January 23, 2004, 04:11:49 PM »

This is a split from the thread here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=9379&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0 (My forge fu is terrible, sorry). If this subject has already been addressed, any linkage would be great.

To quickly summarize:
The guy who does the best descriptions took a number of years off gaming and is the biggest "munchkin" of the group.  Let's call him J.

The guy who's been playing pretty much solid for...geez...it must be 15 years now is actually the most stumped at coming up with descriptions. Ingrained habits, perhaps? Let's call him E.

The new guy is really creative and wacky. He is always coming up with strange things to do with beer bottles, chop sticks and cans of hairspray. Let's call him S.

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Oh, I think there's a real relationship there. I think it's very important. There's almost certainly no "perhaps" about it - ingrained habits, much like ingrown toenails.


I  understand the "ingrained habits" part quite well. The long time player E is so used to saying "I hit him" that he doesn't even think about it anymore, whereas the new guy (S) has no such background to draw upon.
 
I'd just like to throw in a comment that J has consistently been the best at describing cool stunts even before i tried enticing them  with additional experience for cooler narration for actions. Technically J's been gaming for as long as the rest of us, but he had a long time off (something like 7 or 8 years) like i mentioned. I would have thought he would have had the same habits as E, and during our TRoS game, he did display a desided tendency to say "I attack".

I'd also like to admit something: i'm a little selfish in making this thread. I'd like to see E's ingrained habit "broken", as it were. I realize i'm probably going to get some flack for trying to change a player's style, but i feel that in the end, it will make for more exciting and dramatic play in our group, which ultimately i feel is its own reward.

This is one reason why i'm running Feng Shui: it emphasizes cooler narration than bog standard "i attack"....somday we are going to play Nobilis, which i feel is a heavily narration based game, and i would like to see a lot of cool description while playing that game. The other is that i wanted to run an action movie game. ;-)

Finally i'd like to note that the Feng Shui game will wrap up soon (college is relentlessly eating at my time to think up a new scenario every week) and E will be running Exalted. Perhaps this stint as a Storyteller will encourage him to be more descriptive, i don't know.

Are there any suggestions from the Forge folks to help me out here?
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clehrich
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Posts: 1557


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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2004, 10:09:18 PM »

To my mind, the thing to do is to get everyone involved in describing more or less everything.  I don't know the game Feng Shui well, but I think this will take some tinkering.  What I'm getting at, though, is that if someone says, "I attack" or "I kick him," you want it not just to be the GM who disapproves of this.  If it's the whole group, and it's not a totally socially dysfunctional group, then others will want to make the description cool -- after all, they have to live with it.  So you can get everyone saying, "Okay, so, like, you kick him, but can it be in the head?  'Cos then I'll dive-roll at his knees, and we can take him out!"  This encourages the guy, next time around, to say, "I leap up in the air and kick him in the head."  At that point the ball is rolling, and you just encourage what you like.  

Be very, very positive.  Don't punish: you won't get creativity as a response to being told what sucks.  Think about it like teaching: if you tell students they're writing badly, they will constrain what they do, but will never expand.  If you want them to expand, you have to tell them, "This is great, but it could be so much better if...."  This gives them a model to follow next time.  The more you can get this model to come from other students, just as in RPG's you try to get it to come from other players, the more happily they'll take new directions.

Chris Lehrich
[who teaches too much]
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Chris Lehrich
Callan S.
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Posts: 3588


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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2004, 12:02:43 AM »

As an aside, I think such habbits come from being rapped over the knuckles (hard or soft...it still hurts) for trying to be flashy Vs various...cough...basic GM techniques.

I'd suggest these training wheels. Ask him for a list of three more varied attacks, one for melee and one for ranged. Really be positive as he makes this list. The list represents something he can really rely upon, which is what his ingrained habits have told him...only do what you can rely upon. Of course using anything on the list gives him a bonus (I think feng shui already has mechanics for this), and it will teach him you can also rely on coolness.

That's the first step, anyway.
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2004, 01:37:34 PM »

Quote from: clehrich
Be very, very positive.  Don't punish: you won't get creativity as a response to being told what sucks.
Hence why the original Laws Rule in the game doesn't work as well as the "bonus dice" idea. Simple psychology.

Mike
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Lisa Provost
Member

Posts: 52

aka urbanpagan


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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2004, 01:02:51 PM »

I agree, being told what you do sucks, is not a good way to get more out of people.  

One thing my current GM does is actually reward those players for getting more involved with either extra XP or just straight out praise.  He actually calls it the "role-playing" XP and dishes it out seperately from all the rest.  Not everyone gets some of it and not everyone that gets it, gets it equally.  

Funny how even as adults, we all grin like little kids when the GM tells you what you did was a nifty idea.  :)  If you are always getting the extra XP/praise that tends to make others want the same sort of XP/praise and thus they begin to elaborate more on what they are doing.  No longer "getting behind the guy" but now "doing a forward flip off the tavern table, over him, and landing behind him".  That sort of thing.  Just last night, our thief wanna-be-sorcerer did a great manuever that is a good example.  Rather than say, "I move and stab the guy" he said "I do a forward dive roll over our halfing fighter so that I do not block her line of sight with her crossbow and when I get to my feet, I introduce my dagger to one of this lizardman's kidneys!"  I think it was a good description and very straight to the point.  Our GM smiled, jotted a quick note and then asked for his roll...  He missed on his attack roll but it looked great and everyone "oooed" at his prowess and skill!  He also got extra some XP that night.  Our GM explained to all of us it was because the player had been so descriptive in what he was doing the whole evening.  :)

Another thing our GM does is describe all oh the NPC's manuevers.  I had a lizardman "pull himself up out of the muck, and grimacing at me like I was just in his way, begin to rush at me, raising his club to bring it down on me with all his might.  You can see the muscles in his arms bulging with the weight of this massive club."  I truly got the idea that this guy didn't think I was a threat AND was about to use his rock on a stick to make sure that I was no longer a threat to thim.  Rather than "step back 5 feet and fire", I "jumped backwards, bringing my crossbow up and let fly a bolt right into his gizzard!"  I got a few claps from the other players when I scored a nat 20, and I got bonus XP as well.  After mine and the theif wanna-be-sorcerer's descriptions, one of our newbies tried out a few descriptive manuevers.  While he didn't do very well in the attack rolls, he did get praise from the GM (and the rest of us) and some XP as well.  He also got the idea of what the GM (and the rest of us) are really looking for in a game.  

Hope that helps for ideas.
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clehrich
Member

Posts: 1557


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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2004, 01:37:26 PM »

Quote from: urbanpagan
One thing my current GM does is actually reward those players for getting more involved with either extra XP or just straight out praise.  He actually calls it the "role-playing" XP and dishes it out seperately from all the rest.  Not everyone gets some of it and not everyone that gets it, gets it equally.

I recall that when I used to play in Ken Hite's games, he generally tried to remember to bring a little bag of orange slices -- you know, those gumdrop thingies -- with him.  When you did way cool things, particularly when everyone applauded, he threw you an orange slice.  That way you don't get power, but you sure get kudos.

Chris Lehrich
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Chris Lehrich
pete_darby
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Posts: 537

Will dance with porridge down pants for food.


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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2004, 02:51:29 AM »

Is moulding your play to get more orange slices gamism? Or do you have to count them, and start saying "I got more slices, IN YOUR FACE!"

Only half joking, you know...

As for my reward to players for great play, I think my last one was leaning back with a big grin on my face and giggling inanely until I thought of a response (man, my repsonse was lame...)
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Pete Darby
Doctor Xero
Member

Posts: 433


« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2004, 02:31:00 PM »

One technique I used to reward creative roleplay description in combat
was simple: when it was possible, I would simply declare the maneuver
an automatic success without any rolls or counter-rolls.

For example, I once had a new player describe in detail how his PC was
standing perfectly still to avoid being seen by lethally-nasty guards.  In
the gaming system, that required an untrained stealth roll -- a difficult
dice roll.  However, I responded by telling him how cool his description
was and declared it an automatic success.  Descriptions from all players
increased dramatically (pardon the pun) the rest of the night.

Doctor Xero
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"The human brain is the most public organ on the face of the earth....virtually all the business is the direct result of thinking that has already occurred in other minds.  We pass thoughts around, from mind to mind..." --Lewis Thomas
Doctor Xero
Member

Posts: 433


« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2004, 02:35:01 PM »

On the other hand . . .

I once had one player who took great pride in his love of power-gaming.
(He loved to chant, "Roleplaying is a pill -- give us something good to kill!")
Still, he enjoyed gaming with us, even when the Roleplay G.M. (me) was
running the game, and we enjoyed his company.

Suddenly, he showed up and began roleplaying fairly well, both in terms
of creative combat and in terms of drama and character interaction.  He
described his attacks, sought out a failed romance with an NPC, etc. -- and
reaped the experience points benefits and meta-gaming benefits such as
the occasional automatic success.  He still enjoyed powergaming in some of
the other campaigns, but he roleplayed in mine.

After a few months of this, I took him aside to praise his ability to work as
a roleplayer for my game.  He grinned mischievously at me and told me,
"Oh no, I'm still power-gaming!  I'm still twinking out!  I just realized that
the best way to power-game in your games is to do this roleplay stuff for
you -- see how much I get to be bad-ass and the center of attention!"

I never could figure out any more clever response than to concede, with
a grin, defeat to him.

Oy! <laughter>

Doctor Xero
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"The human brain is the most public organ on the face of the earth....virtually all the business is the direct result of thinking that has already occurred in other minds.  We pass thoughts around, from mind to mind..." --Lewis Thomas
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