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New Perception Skill: Discernment
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
Oh, and by the way: sense motive does indeed oppose the bluff skill and even allows characters to avoid an opponent's feint in combat.

Okay, I went back and checked, and you're right. It's been a while since I've played D&D.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
In other words, it seems like GMs are happy to disallow metaknowledge for the purpose of maintaining "realism" but they milk the daylights out of meta-ignorance often to the peril of the PC party (and even at the expense of "realism").

Indeed. One of the things I liked that WOTC started doing in some of their supplements was providing a Knowledge check chart for new stats or character classes so that, if you met up with one, your character's Knowledge roll dictated the information available to the character about whatever it was he just encountered.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
This dicussion is begging the question I posed earlier: if players bear the burden of role playing their dice rolls, how do you (as GM) deal with characters who know more about a topic than their players (or even you as the GM) know?


That depends. I have had some players in say an ADND game who tried to think that THEIR knowledge on chemestry/metalurgy, should mean they could have their PC's use that sort of knowledge. BUT i disagree. Just like someone who has read module X (or book Y) with stats on something (traps, secrets etc) shouldn't be allowed to use that knowledge.

Naaman wrote:
What if the character should reasonably know something that a player wouldn't even think to ask/try? Should the GM tell the player that his character knows this or that and help them along in the adventure?


If they are new gamers, i often give them a chance for a hint. Heck some games, even allow for it, with merits such as 'common sense'.

CRMcNeill wrote:
Naaman wrote:
In other words, it seems like GMs are happy to disallow metaknowledge for the purpose of maintaining "realism" but they milk the daylights out of meta-ignorance often to the peril of the PC party (and even at the expense of "realism").

Indeed. One of the things I liked that WOTC started doing in some of their supplements was providing a Knowledge check chart for new stats or character classes so that, if you met up with one, your character's Knowledge roll dictated the information available to the character about whatever it was he just encountered.


I have often suggested certain skills, like a 'monster lore' proficiency for adnd games, or something similar, to allow for a certain level of meta-knowledge. BUT to me the heart of Role playing is NOT using your knowledge, but thinking like the character you are playing would..
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, but garhkal, that's what I'm asking about: what do you do when the PLAYER isn't capable of "thinking like the character would" simply because the player is less intelligent or knowledgable than his character?

For example a character with the (A) medicine skill might reasonably have life-saving knowledge that the player would never even consider (so he wouldn't think to ask for a skill check).

As a GM who disallows metaknowledge for the sake of maintaining the "purity" of the character concept, how do you keep meta-ignorance from infiltrating the role- (and roll-) playing?
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So what would be some appropriate Difficulty levels? Obviously, it's going to be an opposed roll against the Persuasion / Con attempt, but I'm thinking the Discerning character should gain more insight based on how well they won the dice contest.


One way to approach this could be a variant of using the wound scale from combat. Call it "Social Combat" to borrow a phrase from Song of Ice and Fire RPG.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Relevant to this this thread's discussions, here is a RAW quote from the Rules chapter...

R&E p.79 wrote:
Roleplay It Out. It's often a good idea to use a combination of roleplaying and die rolls to figure out what happens. If a player comes up with a brilliant plan and explains it in character, that should count for a lot more than a bad die roll. On the other hand, if a character has a high level of skill but the player isn't very good at getting into character, the die rolls should play a larger part in determining whether the character succeeds (as long as the player is making an honest effort).

You may want to reward players' ingenuity and intelligent roleplaying with bonus modifiers. Conversely, if the players insist on doing something that isn't too bright, the gamemaster characters should get a hefty bonus modifier to reflect the poor decisions of the players.

Here are some RAW quotes from the Perception skills section...

R&E p.54 wrote:
Interaction skills between player and gamemaster characters shouldn't be solely determined by the die roll. If a character is conning a customs agent, and the player rolls a high con score he obviously succeeds - but how does his character do it? What does he say to influence the customs agent? This is up to the player. The better the player acts the role of his character, the greater his chance of success should be. ... By reducing player interaction to a series of skill rolls, the game turns from a fun exercise in social interaction to a die rolling contest, which isn't nearly as enjoyable. ... This skill is designed to be roleplayed rather than simply rolled. The gamemaster may also use a mixture of roleplaying and die rolls to determine how the character is doing.
R&E p.55 wrote:
Con is another interaction skill, so you'll often want to use roleplaying to resolve these situations.
R&E p.57 wrote:
Just as with other skills, investigation is often more fun when you use roleplaying over skill rolls...


Whill wrote:
But commands, cons and persuasion attempts are usually verbally acted out, and I follow RAW's lead in that good roleplaying can influence the outcome.

CRMcNeill wrote:
Whill wrote:
My way? I get that we may not completely agree but I think you're misrepresenting what I'm saying by your reply. You seem to be taking what I said to an extreme I don't take it to.

Fair enough. That being said, though...

Whill wrote:
And when you bring up PC physical actions, like swinging lightsabers, firing blasters and dodging, you're comparing apples to oranges.

I disagree. What I'm doing is comparing a PC's actual capabilities, as defined by the dice. Your position seems to be that of "if the player can convincingly act out a Con or Persuasion attempt at the game table, it affects how well his character does at the Con or Persuasion attempt in-universe."

It can affect for those skills, yes. But that is an oversimplification of my "position".

CRMcNeill wrote:
So, if we are allowing a player's personal abilities in the real-world to affect the abilities of his character in-universe, why is this only limited to Perception skills?

Why? Because doing it for any other skills would obviously be silly. That's why. But see below for more on this.

CRMcNeill wrote:
If we're going to apply that rule evenly to all attributes...

If? We're not. I'm not. And no one else would do that because: see above. See also below.

CRMcNeill wrote:
and a player's own real-world reflexes allow him to duck out of the way of a thrown D6 at the gaming table, shouldn't that also affect how well his character Dodges?

That's just one example. Should we have a set of dumbbells in the corner so that a player can lift weights to boost his character's Strength roll? A Need For Speed game on pause so the player can take time out to boost his Mech roll? It sounds ridiculous

That is ridiculous.

CRMcNeill wrote:
yet that is exactly what I hear when people say that whether or not a character does well on his in-universe Con roll is influenced by how well the player controlling him can come up with a convincing sounding Con in the real world.

I don't think you actually hear this. It may be all or nothing for you, but it is not all or nothing for everyone. You are using the straw man logical fallacy. You generalize my point of view to all skills, and then attack these other ridiculous examples. No one would apply what I am saying to physical actions. You don't have to exaggerate the point of view of some GMs to disagree with specific cases. (I've never played LARP and it doesn't sound fun at all, but from looking in both WEG Star Wars LARP books your ridiculous examples of dexterity, mechanical and strength based player abilities would never even be a part of that.) I accept and acknowledge your disagreement with even the three specific Perception skills I mentioned, but I must insist that you please stop bringing up ridiculous cases (that no GM would actually do) in refutation of my view. There's aren't even lurkers reading this thread considering doing what you're suggesting!

What is the specific difference you're refusing to acknowledge? The three skills I mentioned where good roleplaying can impact the outcome in my game are all verbal social interaction skills. Roleplaying IS verbal social interaction. Roleplaying is NOT tests of dexterity and strength.

Let me break it down for you another way. There are two types of skills in roleplaying games...

Skills that are verbal social interaction -AND- Skills that are not verbal social interaction

Oranges -AND- Apples

I acknowledge and respect that you do not have roleplaying affect the outcome of using oranges or apples. You handle oranges the same as apples, but apples have absolutely nothing to do with this disagreement. We agree 100% on how to handle apples. Please leave that poor straw man alone! Thank you.

I do sometimes allow good player roleplaying to affect the outcome of some uses of some oranges because it is an orange game. I do not have roleplaying affect the outcome of any uses of any apples because it is not an apple game. No GMs do that. We are only talking about the difference between how we respectively handle skills that are verbal social interaction skills in this verbal social interaction game.

I'm inspired by the RAW statements above but I do not even take it quite to the extreme it does. To be more specific, in my game good roleplaying could be considered "bumping up" the roll of some uses of those three skills in cases where the target number was missed. Or spectacularly good roleplaying on top of a success might provide some additional boon (like a result points bonus or the opposite of a wild die complication). If the skill roll for the target difficulty is missed by a wide margin, it is very unlikely that great roleplaying will eliminate the failure. Good roleplaying for these three skills can influence, but not completely replace, the outcome from die rolls alone.

CRMcNeill wrote:
But in roleplaying, you are still playing a character different from yourself, and that character's strengths and weaknesses are still defined by the values roled by the dice.

I agree, and my response to this goes back to my high expectations for player roleplaying. If an extremely creative player who is great at coming up with extremely convincing cons is playing a character with a very low con skill and/or not of the personality type to lie, then that player will be expected to restrain himself in that respect in the interest of playing the character well. The player should not play the character as a con artist, and if he did then he could even be penalized on CP awards for poor portrayal of the role he chose to play when he made that character.

Players should roleplay the characters based on the PC's game statistics. We agree on that general point. We disagree on how that idea is enforced. You enforce that by strict game mechanics, completely eliminating the human factor involved in roleplaying the use of verbal social interaction skills. I enforce that more by expecting the player to roleplay the character as represented by the game stats, to the best of their ability.
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Last edited by Whill on Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:05 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
I agree with Whill.

Stranger things have happened! Cool

Whill wrote:
IIRC, Sense Motive already does that.
Naaman wrote:
Oh, and by the way: sense motive does indeed oppose the bluff skill and even allows characters to avoiid an opponent's feint in combat.

I recalled correctly after all. Whoo-hoo! I think they did away with Sense Motive for Saga edition, the only WotC Star Wars I've actually played. I don't know how it handles those situations. It's been a long time since I played D&D 3.5 or even looked in the earlier WotC Revised Star Wars game where I had last seen Sense Motive.

Naaman wrote:
This dicussion is begging the question I posed earlier: if players bear the burden of role playing their dice rolls, how do you (as GM) deal with characters who know more about a topic than their players (or even you as the GM) know?

What if the character should reasonably know something that a player wouldn't even think to ask/try? Should the GM tell the player that his character knows this or that and help them along in the adventure?

If we hold players to the numbers and disallow all metaknowledge or meta-emotions (not acting intimidated, for example), then shouldn't that street go both ways? A character who is an expert at something should not be held back for his player's lack of knowledge/expertise/understanding, etc. EVEN WHEN THE PLAYER HAS NO IDEA WHAT TO DO in a given situation. Right?

In other words, it seems like GMs are happy to disallow metaknowledge for the purpose of maintaining "realism" but they milk the daylights out of meta-ignorance often to the peril of the PC party (and even at the expense of "realism").
Naaman wrote:
...what do you do when the PLAYER isn't capable of "thinking like the character would" simply because the player is less intelligent or knowledgable than his character?

For example a character with the (A) medicine skill might reasonably have life-saving knowledge that the player would never even consider (so he wouldn't think to ask for a skill check).

As a GM who disallows metaknowledge for the sake of maintaining the "purity" of the character concept, how do you keep meta-ignorance from infiltrating the role- (and roll-) playing?

That's an important question. For starters, please see the RAW quote at the top of my previous post. See also this one below from the original WEG SW RPG book:

1e Rulebook wrote:
In general, roleplaying situations is more satisfying - and interesting - than simply making skill rolls. In some circumstances, though, you won't have a choice; sometimes a player's character is much better at something than the player himself... In this case, let the skill rolls mean more and the roleplaying means less.

Metaknowlege goes both ways. Not only do players have metaknowlege about the game's settings from the franchise, experience in the current and prior campaigns with other characters, and knowledge of game mechanics, but conversely characters would of course have much knowledge that players (and in some cases even the GM) would not have. Starting with 1e from the same page I quoted from above, the WEG SW RPG has stated on multiple occasions that the GM can make rolls for the player (in secret if need be), and then pass on relevant info to the player if successful. A lot of the published adventures even have specific things characters may end up knowing from rolls the GM could make for them. If a secret roll is unsuccessful, then the GM doesn't necessarily even have to tell the player there was something they could have done but didn't think of. The info provided by the GM doesn't always have to be too specific so the GM doesn't have to be an expert in everything or make up unnecessary details. "You remember a type of plant that can reduce the infection, and it might be growing somewhere in this forest."
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is one of my favorite arguments in roleplaying. Like most of you I have been playing RPGs for years and have run the gamut of styles. I think it is fair to say that the rule of "good arguments and roleplaying deserve a bonus for social skills", is the most common side of the line to fall on. It is included in RAW, and has the added bonus of encouraging a type of behavior that can make players into better role-players. It is a good and valid way to play.

However....

....at this point as a GM I am in the CRMcNeill camp on this issue. Some of the reasons have been mentioned. Players getting a chance to play against type as social savants, movers-and-shakers and silver-tonged schemers, even if the player is socially awkward.

I have played with a wide variety of people. Some literally can't string five words together in smooth way. But they have a blast playing the charming prince! As Whill already pointed out, the RAW has room for them. They are not penalized for being socially less-adept. The GM is free to give the dice more weight. But what happens when there is a member of the group whose real-world social skills outshine everyone else's?

In my experience they become the leader of the group whether or not they assign their PC any social skills. And it is not just a matter of them being more charming. In some cases they just have a real-world knack for coming up with more logical arguments, quips, insults, puns, and set-ups. You can't teach that stuff. I don't want to penalize them by any means. But just giving them a bonus to their roll every time they use their impressive social skills just piles on in my opinion.

I am not saying that more involved RPG rules for social interaction, or leaving it to purely to the dice should be the default. But I do like to see what people have come up with to make choosing Persuasion or Con a mechanically meaningful choice regardless of their real-world skill. Whill's points are valid, and for most GMs are a probably the preferable way to go. But I think it is worth at least exploring CRMcNeill's goal of more mechanically defined social interactions for those of us that want to move that direction.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here, here!

I tend to feel that flexibility is key, here. One of the tools I use to overcome the issue of inept roleplaying is to provide some means of allowing for a skill roll to produce a numerical (or otherwise tangible) after effect.

For example, "your intimidation roll succeeded by a margin of 17! The bad guy can't run away, so instead he takes a -2D penalty to all attack rolls against you."
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
Here, here!

I tend to feel that flexibility is key, here. One of the tools I use to overcome the issue of inept roleplaying is to provide some means of allowing for a skill roll to produce a numerical (or otherwise tangible) after effect.

For example, "your intimidation roll succeeded by a margin of 17! The bad guy can't run away, so instead he takes a -2D penalty to all attack rolls against you."


A good point on flexibility! I don't think you can hard code every possible variation of social interaction.

So in your example, no one is saying the the bad guy can't attack, just that the high Intimidate roll has affected his choice of whether to run or continue the attack in a game-specific way. It has mechanical weight. Could the same type of thing be applied to PCs?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see why not.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CaptainKorbak wrote:
I think it is fair to say that the rule of "good arguments and roleplaying deserve a bonus for social skills", is the most common side of the line to fall on. It is included in RAW, and has the added bonus of encouraging a type of behavior that can make players into better role-players. It is a good and valid way to play.

However....

....at this point as a GM I am in the CRMcNeill camp on this issue. Some of the reasons have been mentioned. Players getting a chance to play against type as social savants, movers-and-shakers and silver-tonged schemers, even if the player is socially awkward.

I have played with a wide variety of people. Some literally can't string five words together in smooth way. But they have a blast playing the charming prince! As Whill already pointed out, the RAW has room for them. They are not penalized for being socially less-adept. The GM is free to give the dice more weight. But what happens when there is a member of the group whose real-world social skills outshine everyone else's?

In my experience they become the leader of the group whether or not they assign their PC any social skills. And it is not just a matter of them being more charming. In some cases they just have a real-world knack for coming up with more logical arguments, quips, insults, puns, and set-ups. You can't teach that stuff. I don't want to penalize them by any means. But just giving them a bonus to their roll every time they use their impressive social skills just piles on in my opinion.

I am not saying that more involved RPG rules for social interaction, or leaving it to purely to the dice should be the default. But I do like to see what people have come up with to make choosing Persuasion or Con a mechanically meaningful choice regardless of their real-world skill. Whill's points are valid, and for most GMs are a probably the preferable way to go. But I think it is worth at least exploring CRMcNeill's goal of more mechanically defined social interactions for those of us that want to move that direction.

Thanks, but I'm not sure what valid points you feel I made. I was not at all arguing that RAW or my way are the ways it should be for everyone. I never do that. If you read back in the thread, I was merely adding to the conversation by sharing the way I handle some social skills before my way was misrepresented as applying to non-social skills and then ridiculed.

I fully support the further exploration into mechanically defined social interaction and any GM who wants to run their game that way. Whatever works for you. To each GM his own.

Naaman wrote:
I tend to feel that flexibility is key, here.

That's great general advice for GMs and very applicable here. For social interaction skills in this social interacting game, I try to be flexible in sometimes allowing good roleplaying to impact the roll-playing in some cases.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
If you read back in the thread, I was merely adding to the conversation by sharing the way I handle some social skills before my way was misrepresented as applying to non-social skills and then ridiculed.

To clarify, my intent was not to ridicule or misrepresent your method in particular. I was trying to highlight my previous point by presenting ridiculous examples of how we don't allow a player's real-world abilities to affect their character's in-universe abilities, except in the case of social skills. Apologies for any confusion, as no insult was intended.

My concern is that this has the potential to unfairly penalize players who lack real-world social skills, regardless of whatever social skills their characters may possess, or to unfairly reward players who do possess those skills even when their characters do not. In my opinion, this should either be minimized to as great a degree as possible, or the restriction to purely social skills should be removed entirely, so as to allow all players to bring their real-world skills to the table, regardless of their character's dice ratings.

Of the two, I vastly prefer the former.

I'm reminded of Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame series. The premise is that a D&D-esque gaming group is magically transported into their gaming universe (it is later revealed that their GM was a powerful wizard banished into the real-world from the gaming universe), with each player and character becoming a gestalt personality composed of both themselves and their character, switching off depending on which personality's skills proved the most useful in a particular situation. Later on in the series, this allows for the introduction of advanced construction techniques and the production of gunpowder, as the real-world college students bring their various skills into the gaming universe.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
My concern is that this has the potential to unfairly penalize players who lack real-world social skills, regardless of whatever social skills their characters may possess,

In my game I address that concern by heeding the 1e quote above (R&E may have a similar quote somewhere but I didn't find it): The dice rolls count more than the roleplaying in those cases.

Quote:
or to unfairly reward players who do possess those skills even when their characters do not.

In my game I address that concern on the end of my expectation for the players playing their roles appropriately. Good roleplaying is playing the role well no matter what kind of role. This includes very social and creative players reigning it in when playing anti-social, quiet or withdrawn characters. I have rarely had to penalize players for betraying their character concepts with their character portrayals, and so far I've never had to do it for a player playing his character overly socially-oriented for the character. So this has just never been an issue in my game, but there is an existing mechanic for dealing with it if it ever comes up (through CP awards).

Quote:
In my opinion, this should either be minimized to as great a degree as possible, or the restriction to purely social skills should be removed entirely, so as to allow all players to bring their real-world skills to the table, regardless of their character's dice ratings.

Of course there's nothing wrong with running your game that way, but in my opinion that's very binary thinking. There are more than two ways to skin a bantha!

The way it has been preemptively minimized to a great degree in my game is by overly shy and socially-awkward players steering clear of playing face characters. I'm not talking about a rule against it, but I make it clear up front that players roleplaying their PCs true to the character concepts is very important to me as a GM, to the extent that CP awards are partially based on the quality of their portrayals, regardless of the specific character types and personalities. My players have always wanted to play characters they can play well.

My concerns for removing the human element completely from all social skills are that (1) there could be a reduction of fun had during the game, and (2) the final product could turn out silly in some respects.
    1. Creative cons and persuasion attempts (even unsuccessful ones) are entertaining for the whole group, and if what the players say and how they say it doesn't have any impact on the outcome because a good dice roll is all that matters for success, then players could lose their motivation to be creative in this way and we may all miss out on what I feel is a fundamental aspect of the gaming experience.
    2. I feel very strongly that roleplaying games are about a group of people making stories. My game's adventures take place in an ongoing, shared continuity and I enjoy the stories more if they make sense. If players are only motivated to roll dice well and succeed at die rolls, then you tend to get more silly situations like the PC telling the customs inspector any random thing such as his dog ate his starship registration, and that con actually succeeding only because the player spent 2 CPs to boost the roll and a wild die exploded. (Or a player just rolls his con dice and the GM telling him he succeeded without even discussing what was actually said between characters, if you take it that far) For the sake of the co-created story, I need my players to try to make up convincing lies as appropriate to their characters, and some things are just too dumb for any character to say.

CRMcNeill, I can see where you are coming from in applying the same dice rolling mechanics to all skills equally (knowledge skills, social skills, everything). What I can appreciate about your general approach is the quality that stands out in so much of your work: consistency. It's a big part of why I follow your lead in most things technological. But for me, PCs using some social skills are important exceptions for the human element of roleplaying.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Whill. In all fairness, I realize my idea is more of an unattainable ideal.
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