Globe of invulnerability and dispel magic

11 views
Skip to first unread message

Hong Ooi

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 5:56:34 AM9/9/03
to
Another question, which makes it two in two days. Whoo-hoo!

The description for globe of invulnerability says that it excludes all
spells and spell-like effects whose targets are within the globe.

It also says that the globe can be brought down by a targeted dispel magic
(but not an area one).

Does this mean that a dispel magic targeted on the caster can bring down
the globe? This would seem to contradict the first clause above. Or does it
mean that the dispel has to be targeted on the globe itself?


--
Hong Ooi | "Does *anyone* at WOTC bother to
ho...@zipworld.com.au | _think_ when making housecat stats?"
http://www.zipworld.com.au/~hong/dnd/ | -- MSB
Sydney, Australia |

Geoff Watson

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 6:53:43 AM9/9/03
to

"Hong Ooi" <ho...@zipworld.com.au> wrote in message
news:5n8rlvga45j7lohv1...@4ax.com...

> Another question, which makes it two in two days. Whoo-hoo!
>
> The description for globe of invulnerability says that it excludes all
> spells and spell-like effects whose targets are within the globe.
>
> It also says that the globe can be brought down by a targeted dispel magic
> (but not an area one).
>
> Does this mean that a dispel magic targeted on the caster can bring down
> the globe? This would seem to contradict the first clause above. Or does
it
> mean that the dispel has to be targeted on the globe itself?
>
Targetted on the globe itself.

Geoff.


Hong Ooi

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 7:12:56 AM9/9/03
to
On Tue, 9 Sep 2003 20:53:43 +1000, "Geoff Watson" <geoff...@ihug.com.au>
wrote:

Oh good. (Hee hee.)

Hong Ooi

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 7:29:36 AM9/9/03
to
On Tue, 9 Sep 2003 20:53:43 +1000, "Geoff Watson" <geoff...@ihug.com.au>
wrote:

>

Following on from that, would a Spellcraft check be required to identify
the spell? DC by the book is 20 + spell level to identify a spell already
in place and in effect (23 in this case).

Varl

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 9:14:32 AM9/9/03
to
Hong Ooi wrote:
> Another question, which makes it two in two days. Whoo-hoo!
>
> The description for globe of invulnerability says that it excludes all
> spells and spell-like effects whose targets are within the globe.
>
> It also says that the globe can be brought down by a targeted dispel magic
> (but not an area one).
>
> Does this mean that a dispel magic targeted on the caster can bring down
> the globe? This would seem to contradict the first clause above. Or does it
> mean that the dispel has to be targeted on the globe itself?

The Dispel can't get through to the caster with it up.
Target the globe itself to be able to target the caster.

--
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for
good men to do nothing.
-Edmund Burke

http://www.shadowpool.com

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 1:16:03 PM9/9/03
to
Hong Ooi <ho...@zipworld.com.au> wrote:
> Following on from that, would a Spellcraft check be required to
> identify the spell? DC by the book is 20 + spell level to identify a
> spell already in place and in effect (23 in this case).

Hm, good point. I think that DC is too high. Compare charm person (your
friend acts a little funny, DC 21) and globe (a huge, shimmering ball of
magical weirdness, DC 23?). While it might be difficult to identify the
globe with certainty, I think most players would get the hint after
"shimmering globe, and my spells don't seem to work inside."
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd

Eyebyte

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 2:28:44 PM9/9/03
to

"Bradd W. Szonye" <bradd...@szonye.com> wrote in message
news:slrnbls2mj.5...@szonye.com...

IMO, this is the critical failure of 3E 3.5. Since everything now comes down
to a DC check, it is no longer you thinking, it is you rolling a die and
your character knowing it or not knowing it based on the result. Though
there is a long running problem with players using metagame knowledge that
always comes up in DnD, 3/3.5 has tried to use the DC to determine
everything. I particularly dislike this mechanic for the Charisma based
skills. While I applaud the effort to make personality count (After all, it
might be the most important attribute in REAL society), it is still just a
die roll. Good roll players who come up with full personas for their
characters, make eloquent speaches, and devise clever tricks must simply
roll a DC to see if it works or not...just as the dolt player who
contributes nothing might succeed with a brilliant bluff with a die roll

Did 3.0 turn role-playing into roll playing once and for all?

Sorry for being off topic, but I needed a minor rant. In response to the
question, a DC of 23 spellcraft would successfully determine the globe.
Would DMs out there tell the players a different spell if they rolled
differently? like Oh, you rolled a 22, OK, you determine that the bad guy
has a resist elements spell on?
Rich

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 3:11:07 PM9/9/03
to
Eyebyte <eye...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> IMO, this is the critical failure of 3E 3.5. Since everything now
> comes down to a DC check, it is no longer you thinking, it is you
> rolling a die and your character knowing it or not knowing it based on
> the result.

The thinking part comes in when you make strategic and tactical choices.
D&D3 removes the need for most microtactical choices, which makes it
much easier to play a character with skills different from your own, and
that's a *good* thing.

Kershek

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 5:14:49 PM9/9/03
to
In article <jaerlv49dc9pj1u6t...@4ax.com>,
ho...@zipworld.com.au says...

> On Tue, 9 Sep 2003 20:53:43 +1000, "Geoff Watson" <geoff...@ihug.com.au>
> wrote:
>
> >
> >"Hong Ooi" <ho...@zipworld.com.au> wrote in message
> >news:5n8rlvga45j7lohv1...@4ax.com...
> >> Another question, which makes it two in two days. Whoo-hoo!
> >>
> >> The description for globe of invulnerability says that it excludes all
> >> spells and spell-like effects whose targets are within the globe.
> >>
> >> It also says that the globe can be brought down by a targeted dispel magic
> >> (but not an area one).
> >>
> >> Does this mean that a dispel magic targeted on the caster can bring down
> >> the globe? This would seem to contradict the first clause above. Or does
> >it
> >> mean that the dispel has to be targeted on the globe itself?
> >>
> >Targetted on the globe itself.
> >
>
> Following on from that, would a Spellcraft check be required to identify
> the spell? DC by the book is 20 + spell level to identify a spell already
> in place and in effect (23 in this case).

Well, dispel magic doesn't require knowing the spell it's dispelling, but
it does require a target. Therefore, one of three things can be done: 1)
if the magical effect is visible, then it can be targetted, 2) if the
magical effect is invisible, you need to see its aura through detect magic
or similar means, or 3) if all else fails, use a spellcraft check to be
able to target the magical source. Since spell level is irrelevant, I
would say it's a straight DC 20 spellcraft check to pinpoint the source.

Rupert Boleyn

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 7:22:18 PM9/9/03
to
On Tue, 09 Sep 2003 18:28:44 GMT, "Eyebyte" <eye...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>IMO, this is the critical failure of 3E 3.5. Since everything now comes down
>to a DC check, it is no longer you thinking, it is you rolling a die and
>your character knowing it or not knowing it based on the result. Though
>there is a long running problem with players using metagame knowledge that
>always comes up in DnD, 3/3.5 has tried to use the DC to determine
>everything. I particularly dislike this mechanic for the Charisma based
>skills. While I applaud the effort to make personality count (After all, it
>might be the most important attribute in REAL society), it is still just a
>die roll. Good roll players who come up with full personas for their
>characters, make eloquent speaches, and devise clever tricks must simply
>roll a DC to see if it works or not...just as the dolt player who
>contributes nothing might succeed with a brilliant bluff with a die roll

And what about the player who is brilliant but socially inept? Why
should he be focred to play a socially inept character because he
can't make up brilliant speeches, and doesn't have the oratorial
skills to sway the group? The wimp who can't manage a single pressup
and who can be relied upon to fumble the simplest throw is allowed to
play a Str20+, Dex18 fighter, so why is Mr. Unsocial not allowed to
play a great orator?

--
Rupert Boleyn <rbo...@paradise.net.nz>
"A pessimist is simply an optimist with a sense of history."

Michael Scott Brown

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 7:51:21 PM9/9/03
to
"Eyebyte" <eye...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:wZo7b.427741

> > globe with certainty, I think most players would get the hint after
> > "shimmering globe, and my spells don't seem to work inside."
>
> IMO, this is the critical failure of 3E 3.5. Since everything now comes
down
> to a DC check, it is no longer you thinking, it is you rolling a die and
> your character knowing it or not knowing it based on the result.

Bah. This mechanic is the fallback if the characters *don't* recognize
a thing from experience.

-Michael


Geoffrey Brent

unread,
Sep 9, 2003, 9:59:35 PM9/9/03
to
Eyebyte wrote:

> IMO, this is the critical failure of 3E 3.5. Since everything now comes down
> to a DC check, it is no longer you thinking, it is you rolling a die and
> your character knowing it or not knowing it based on the result. Though
> there is a long running problem with players using metagame knowledge that
> always comes up in DnD, 3/3.5 has tried to use the DC to determine
> everything. I particularly dislike this mechanic for the Charisma based
> skills. While I applaud the effort to make personality count (After all, it
> might be the most important attribute in REAL society), it is still just a
> die roll. Good roll players who come up with full personas for their
> characters, make eloquent speaches, and devise clever tricks must simply
> roll a DC to see if it works or not...just as the dolt player who
> contributes nothing might succeed with a brilliant bluff with a die roll

I've never encountered a GM in D&D or any other system who relied solely
on dice rolls to handle interpersonal interaction. In practice, most GMs
I've played with resolve this stuff by diceless roleplaying more often
than not, and only pull out the rules when it benefits the game - e.g.
when character and player skills are grossly mismatched, or when you
don't want to spend three days roleplaying the minutiae of a business deal.

Even then, there are any number of ways the GM can combine dice and
roleplaying. You can roleplay before rolling (give players a bonus to
skill checks if they come up with a good approach), or after (players
who make a good roll get a hint on how to approach negotiations). Or
both. Any RPG compromises between the player's abilities and the
character's, and just where you set that compromise depends on the
individual group.

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 12:06:28 AM9/10/03
to
Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
> I've never encountered a GM in D&D or any other system who relied
> solely on dice rolls to handle interpersonal interaction. In practice,
> most GMs I've played with resolve this stuff by diceless roleplaying
> more often than not, and only pull out the rules when it benefits the
> game - e.g. when character and player skills are grossly mismatched,
> or when you don't want to spend three days roleplaying the minutiae of
> a business deal.

I strongly dislike the "play it out" method of resolution, because it
hurts ordinary players who want to run super-diplomats. I also dislike
the "play it or roll it, your choice" approach, because charismatic
players can abuse it from the other direction -- they effectively get
free ranks in Diplomacy.

> Even then, there are any number of ways the GM can combine dice and
> roleplaying. You can roleplay before rolling (give players a bonus to
> skill checks if they come up with a good approach), or after (players
> who make a good roll get a hint on how to approach negotiations). Or
> both.

I personally like the second approach. Specifically, I like to have the
player explain his overall attitude and strategy, roll the dice based on
that, and then play out the results based on the skill check.

Geoffrey Brent

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 1:04:31 AM9/10/03
to
Bradd W. Szonye wrote:

> Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
>
>>I've never encountered a GM in D&D or any other system who relied
>>solely on dice rolls to handle interpersonal interaction. In practice,
>>most GMs I've played with resolve this stuff by diceless roleplaying
>>more often than not, and only pull out the rules when it benefits the
>>game - e.g. when character and player skills are grossly mismatched,
>>or when you don't want to spend three days roleplaying the minutiae of
>>a business deal.
>
>
> I strongly dislike the "play it out" method of resolution, because it
> hurts ordinary players who want to run super-diplomats.

True, but it's possible to adjust the bar depending on the player and
character. For instance, if we're playing out a Bluff attempt, I'll
require a much more convincing performance from my wife than I will from
the eleven-year-old - especially if he's playing a high-Cha character.

IMHO, part of GMing is being sensitive to what interests the players. If
somebody maxes out their Diplomacy skill, I'll take that as a sign that
they're interested in using that part of the skill system, and so I'll
use those rules (including rolling for social tasks) more often than I
otherwise would. If players don't show any interest in Diplomacy skills,
I'll usually just roleplay it.

> I also dislike
> the "play it or roll it, your choice" approach, because charismatic
> players can abuse it from the other direction -- they effectively get
> free ranks in Diplomacy.

OTOH, "Play it or roll it, GM's choice" can be used to fix things up
here - a less-competent player gets the option for a roll where a
more-competent one doesn't. Last session in our Ravenloft game,
aforementioned Ratboy - playing a Wis 17 character - ended up paying
most of his savings to get a Cure Light Wounds at the local temple,
there being no healer in the party.

I allowed him a Wis roll to remember that in the previous session, they
had SAVED THE LIFE of one of the other townsfolk, and then seen her CAST
A HEALING SPELL ON HERSELF, and let him think about that for a bit. If
it had been my wife, I wouldn't have given her the roll. (The reason he
was wounded in the first place was another low-Wis decision: while the
other two PCs spent the night in an inn, he decided to save a couple of
SP by sleeping outside under a bush. Mmm, Ravenloft.)

For the most part, I default to 'play it out' and use dice as an
exception-handler where that default isn't satisfactory. Super-diplomat
PCs being one of those exceptions.

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 2:12:57 AM9/10/03
to
> Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
>> I strongly dislike the "play it out" method of resolution, because it
>> hurts ordinary players who want to run super-diplomats.

Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
> True, but it's possible to adjust the bar depending on the player and
> character. For instance, if we're playing out a Bluff attempt, I'll
> require a much more convincing performance from my wife than I will
> from the eleven-year-old - especially if he's playing a high-Cha
> character.

That doesn't really help, IMO. It just adds DM bias into the mix.

> IMHO, part of GMing is being sensitive to what interests the players.
> If somebody maxes out their Diplomacy skill, I'll take that as a sign
> that they're interested in using that part of the skill system, and so
> I'll use those rules (including rolling for social tasks) more often
> than I otherwise would. If players don't show any interest in
> Diplomacy skills, I'll usually just roleplay it.

That's reasonable, I suppose, although this still sets up the
"charismatic players win more" situation.

>> I also dislike the "play it or roll it, your choice" approach,
>> because charismatic players can abuse it from the other direction --
>> they effectively get free ranks in Diplomacy.

> OTOH, "Play it or roll it, GM's choice" can be used to fix things up
> here - a less-competent player gets the option for a roll where a
> more-competent one doesn't.

That's exactly what I'm complaining about, though, unless you faithfully
include very charismatic players in the "less competent" group whenever
they forget to tone down the charm. And few DMs do that, because that
same charisma tends to blind them to the problem.

That's why I feel that using the same system for everyone is the only
fair way to handle this.

> For the most part, I default to 'play it out' and use dice as an
> exception-handler where that default isn't satisfactory.
> Super-diplomat PCs being one of those exceptions.

Problem is that the default often *seems* satisfactory in cases where it
really isn't. Players get grumpy when their smooth-talking friend gets
away with "free Diplomacy," but they rarely speak up about it (probably
because they expect the DM to side with the smooth talker yet again).

Gary Johnson

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 3:09:43 AM9/10/03
to
Bradd W. Szonye <bradd...@szonye.com> wrote:
> Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
>> Bradd W. Szonye wrote:

>>> I strongly dislike the "play it out" method of resolution, because it
>>> hurts ordinary players who want to run super-diplomats.

>> True, but it's possible to adjust the bar depending on the player and


>> character. For instance, if we're playing out a Bluff attempt, I'll
>> require a much more convincing performance from my wife than I will
>> from the eleven-year-old - especially if he's playing a high-Cha
>> character.

> That doesn't really help, IMO. It just adds DM bias into the mix.

I agree. It also opens up the scope for "free skill points", by which I
mean players designing characters with Charisma as a dump stat and no
skill points in interaction skills but who still expect to get the same
benefits from their in-character acting as players who design characters
that have high Charisma and invest significantly in interaction skills.

>> IMHO, part of GMing is being sensitive to what interests the players.
>> If somebody maxes out their Diplomacy skill, I'll take that as a sign
>> that they're interested in using that part of the skill system, and so
>> I'll use those rules (including rolling for social tasks) more often
>> than I otherwise would. If players don't show any interest in
>> Diplomacy skills, I'll usually just roleplay it.

> That's reasonable, I suppose, although this still sets up the
> "charismatic players win more" situation.

I'm also not convinced that players designing their characters for optimum
effectiveness will max out their Diplomacy skill if they know the GM will
just let them act out interactions. This problem can be exacerbated if the
GM regularly needs interactions to go a certain way (e.g., the GM is using
a linear module): why allocate character resources to being good in a
skill when the GM will usually let you have the benefits of successful
skill checks without dice rolls?

>>> I also dislike the "play it or roll it, your choice" approach,
>>> because charismatic players can abuse it from the other direction --
>>> they effectively get free ranks in Diplomacy.

>> OTOH, "Play it or roll it, GM's choice" can be used to fix things up
>> here - a less-competent player gets the option for a roll where a
>> more-competent one doesn't.

> That's exactly what I'm complaining about, though, unless you faithfully
> include very charismatic players in the "less competent" group whenever
> they forget to tone down the charm. And few DMs do that, because that
> same charisma tends to blind them to the problem.

This is one reason why I tend to design socially effective player
characters. Not that I'm necessarily charismatic myself. :-) However, I am
a loud player who talks reasonably often in-character, which means I tend
to dominate the social interactions that are acted out in my gaming
groups. IMO, it's fairer to other players if I allocate my character's
resources to make my character good at the things I tend to take control
of during play, such as character interactions and negotiations. This way,
I don't "double-dip" as much.

<remainder snipped>

Cheers,

Gary Johnson
--
Home Page: http://www.uq.net.au/~zzjohnsg
X-Men Campaign Resources: http://www.uq.net.au/~zzjohnsg/xmen/start.htm
Fantasy Campaign Setting: http://www.uq.net.au/~zzjohnsg/selentia.htm

Deric Bernier

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 3:18:20 AM9/10/03
to

Gary Johnson wrote:

I solved that problem in the game I run, actually I solved it way playing
Cyberpunk 2020 a few years back when that was all I played. It's a completely
skill based system and we would run into this problem quite a lot. My
solution was that you would succeed or fail at any given task by rolling the
dice, for roleplaying it out I would award extra xp (ip in CP2020 terms). It
gave everyone, even people who weren't very talented in certain areas, or
uncomfortable trying to play them out a little extra incentive to do so. It
was pretty well recieved and we continue to use it to this day.

Actually its amazing how much we have brought over from my CP2020 house rules.

D

Geoffrey Brent

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 3:44:24 AM9/10/03
to
Bradd W. Szonye wrote:

>>Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
>>
>>>I strongly dislike the "play it out" method of resolution, because it
>>>hurts ordinary players who want to run super-diplomats.
>
>
> Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
>
>>True, but it's possible to adjust the bar depending on the player and
>>character. For instance, if we're playing out a Bluff attempt, I'll
>>require a much more convincing performance from my wife than I will
>>from the eleven-year-old - especially if he's playing a high-Cha
>>character.
>
>
> That doesn't really help, IMO. It just adds DM bias into the mix.

Any aspect of play can be ruined by a DM who can't keep their biases
under control. Even if we eliminated social interaction altogether (the
holy grail of every gamer ;-) there'd still be many other judgement
calls, all vulnerable to DM bias. I just don't see this one as being
more fragile than the norm.

I know my wife, and I know my stepson; it's really not that hard to
judge whether a given ploy is better than their usual standard.

>>IMHO, part of GMing is being sensitive to what interests the players.
>>If somebody maxes out their Diplomacy skill, I'll take that as a sign
>>that they're interested in using that part of the skill system, and so
>>I'll use those rules (including rolling for social tasks) more often
>>than I otherwise would. If players don't show any interest in
>>Diplomacy skills, I'll usually just roleplay it.
>
>
> That's reasonable, I suppose, although this still sets up the
> "charismatic players win more" situation.

Maybe I've just been lucky in this, but I've never had much trouble with
that - most of the charismatic players have been willing and able to
roleplay a low-charisma character, when they play one. Often they treat
it as a challenge they set themselves.

One of the things affecting my stance on this, BTW, is the memory of a
LARPer who wandered around wearing a badge which read "I have 5 dots in
Charisma and six in Appearance, I look like your ideal partner" (roughly
equivalent to 18s and 20s in D&D terms) and expecting everybody to
worship her while she acted like a bratty child.

I'm quite willing to allow characters who are more socially adept than
their players, and to have the rules reflect this in some way, but I
don't want to turn social interactions into a free ride.

> That's why I feel that using the same system for everyone is the only
> fair way to handle this.

Still not completely bias-free, because a GM's decisions on how frequent
and how important social checks are going to be can favour or
short-change diplomatic characters. I'll certainly concede that it's the
*most* fair way to handle it.

But while fairness is a very important part of the game, it's not the
only thing that counts. The improvement in fairness has to be balanced
against possible detraction from other things. In my eyes, that
improvement is not a large one, and the negative effects can be
significant. So my way suits my preferences better, even though it's not
as fair as yours.

> Problem is that the default often *seems* satisfactory in cases where it
> really isn't. Players get grumpy when their smooth-talking friend gets
> away with "free Diplomacy," but they rarely speak up about it (probably
> because they expect the DM to side with the smooth talker yet again).

True, but it can go wrong the other way too. Sometimes somebody
roleplays a negotiation with an NPC, and it's consistent with what the
characters are capable of, and the negotiation is interesting in
itself... and then the dice basically tell you that it didn't happen.
That's equally unsatisfying.

Also depends on what you consider to be "free diplomacy". IMHO, if
somebody makes an effort to think about the NPC they're talking to and
tailor their approach to the circumstances etc etc, they may not have
paid points for it, but neither is it entirely "free".

Relying entirely on the player's social skills is undesirable for
reasons that you've already covered, but IMHO relying solely on
character stats is also undesirable because it fosters laziness. I
prefer to find some middle ground.

Geoffrey Brent

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 4:00:14 AM9/10/03
to
Gary Johnson wrote:

>>>True, but it's possible to adjust the bar depending on the player and
>>>character. For instance, if we're playing out a Bluff attempt, I'll
>>>require a much more convincing performance from my wife than I will
>>>from the eleven-year-old - especially if he's playing a high-Cha
>>>character.
>
>
>>That doesn't really help, IMO. It just adds DM bias into the mix.
>
>
> I agree. It also opens up the scope for "free skill points", by which I
> mean players designing characters with Charisma as a dump stat and no
> skill points in interaction skills but who still expect to get the same
> benefits from their in-character acting as players who design characters
> that have high Charisma and invest significantly in interaction skills.

How so? I specifically mentioned above that in this situation I would
set the bar lower for a character with high Cha. (To which, for clarity,
I should have added "and/or skill points in Bluff".) The character's
investment in social stats _does_ have an impact on how likely they are
to succeed here.

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 12:53:37 PM9/10/03
to
Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
>>>> True, but it's possible to adjust the bar depending on the player
>>>> and character. For instance, if we're playing out a Bluff attempt,
>>>> I'll require a much more convincing performance from my wife than I
>>>> will from the eleven-year-old - especially if he's playing a
>>>> high-Cha character.

Bradd wrote:
>>> That doesn't really help, IMO. It just adds DM bias into the mix.

> Gary Johnson wrote:
>> I agree. It also opens up the scope for "free skill points" ....

> How so? I specifically mentioned above that in this situation I would

> set the bar lower for a character with high Cha .... The character's


> investment in social stats _does_ have an impact on how likely they
> are to succeed here.

That works reasonably well for the uncharismatic player with a talented
PC, but it works very poorly for the opposite case: the charismatic
player who puts a dump stat into Cha and no social skill point. Suppose
that a really glib player drops a 3 into his PC's Charisma. How high do
you "set the bar" for that? Do you arbitrarily make him fail at almost
all social interactions? Do you forget and let the player's glibness
sway your decisions? Either way, it's unfair. In the former case, you're
not even giving the player a chance, and in the latter case, you're
effectively giving his PC free Charisma and skill points.

There is a simple way to keep this fair: Ignore the quality of the
player's acting and persuasive skills and use the D&D mechanics instead.
Roll the result and let the players act it out as well as they care to.
If you like, award XP or brownie points for good portrayals of the
results. But going on gut feel and ad hoc adjustments based on the
acting fosters unfairness, envy, and accusations of favoritism IME.

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 1:16:45 PM9/10/03
to
> Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
>> That's reasonable, I suppose, although this still sets up the
>> "charismatic players win more" situation.

Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
> Maybe I've just been lucky in this, but I've never had much trouble
> with that - most of the charismatic players have been willing and able
> to roleplay a low-charisma character, when they play one. Often they
> treat it as a challenge they set themselves.

Based on my experiences with this, I'd guess that these players still
effectively get free skill points. I could be wrong, but I've yet to
meet a DM who can ignore player charisma while still using a subjective
social-skills mechanic.

> I'm quite willing to allow characters who are more socially adept than
> their players, and to have the rules reflect this in some way, but I
> don't want to turn social interactions into a free ride.

It's *not* a free ride. You spend ability scores, skill points, feats,
and magic items to get it. It's not a free ride any more than a high
Strength, high BAB, and a magic weapon are a free ride. The only "free
ride" is the bonus some players get for having good real-life social or
acting skills -- a bonus that he paid nothing for in-game.

Compare it to combat skill. Player tactical skill makes a big
difference, but microtactical skill does not. A real-life klutz can play
a monk just as well as a blackbelt can. The same should be true for
social skills, IMO. A good tactical approach to a social situation
should help, but real-life social and acting skills should not.
Otherwise, you get a situation where charismatic players get free
bonuses.

>> That's why I feel that using the same system for everyone is the only
>> fair way to handle this.

> Still not completely bias-free, because a GM's decisions on how
> frequent and how important social checks are going to be can favour or
> short-change diplomatic characters.

Not if you apply the same rules consistently to all players. Follow the
rules given in the game. Make one check for initial reactions. Make
another check according to the rules for each skill: One Diplomacy check
for each negotiation. One Bluff check for each lie.

> I'll certainly concede that it's the *most* fair way to handle it.

OK.

> But while fairness is a very important part of the game, it's not the
> only thing that counts. The improvement in fairness has to be balanced
> against possible detraction from other things. In my eyes, that
> improvement is not a large one, and the negative effects can be
> significant.

What negative effects?

> Sometimes somebody roleplays a negotiation with an NPC, and it's
> consistent with what the characters are capable of, and the
> negotiation is interesting in itself... and then the dice basically
> tell you that it didn't happen. That's equally unsatisfying.

Then roll the dice *before* you act it out, so that you know how to
role-play it! Again, this is no different from combat. You don't say,
"You slice his head clean off!" before rolling the dice to see whether
that's actually possible.

Play out enough of the scene to determine the characters' overall
tactics. Then make the check. If the PC makes the check, then gloss over
any gaffes in the player's portrayal. React in the most favorable way to
his attempt. If he fails the check, then resist his attempt, jump on his
mistakes, etc.

> Also depends on what you consider to be "free diplomacy". IMHO, if
> somebody makes an effort to think about the NPC they're talking to and
> tailor their approach to the circumstances etc etc, they may not have
> paid points for it, but neither is it entirely "free".

That's tactics, and it should grant a circumstance bonus to the check.
Just be sure that you're rewarding the strategic elements and not the
player's acting ability.

> Relying entirely on the player's social skills is undesirable for
> reasons that you've already covered, but IMHO relying solely on
> character stats is also undesirable because it fosters laziness.

If players are lazy about acting out the results of a check, maybe it's
because they're not all that interested in acting. If so, then rewarding
the good actors by making their characters more successful will only
exaggerate feelings of envy and favoritism.

> I prefer to find some middle ground.

Then award circumstance bonuses for making a good effort (in the form of
social strategy and tactics, *not* acting ability). But don't wing it,
because that's an almost-certain way to introduce favoritism toward the
more charismatic players.

Gary Johnson

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 6:11:48 PM9/10/03
to
Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
> Gary Johnson wrote:
>> Bradd Szonye wrote:

>>>That doesn't really help, IMO. It just adds DM bias into the mix.
>>
>> I agree. It also opens up the scope for "free skill points", by which I
>> mean players designing characters with Charisma as a dump stat and no
>> skill points in interaction skills but who still expect to get the same
>> benefits from their in-character acting as players who design
>> characters that have high Charisma and invest significantly in
>> interaction skills.
>
> How so? I specifically mentioned above that in this situation I would
> set the bar lower for a character with high Cha. (To which, for clarity,
> I should have added "and/or skill points in Bluff".) The character's
> investment in social stats _does_ have an impact on how likely they are
> to succeed here.

To use the starting PCs for my current game as an example: Marcus and
Jonyn had Charisma 10; Eadric and Ulfgar had Charisma 8. Nobody invested
skill points in interaction skills. Marcus and Jonyn had a +5% chance of
success in an interaction skill check.

How should a GM go about "setting the bar lower" for Marcus and Jonyn in
this case? In this case, it was further complicated by the fact that
Marcus and Eadric have socially dominant players, while Jonyn and Ulfgar
do not.

IMO, the only equitable way to manage this situation was to do what I did
and insist that rolling interaction skill checks was required whenever the
outcome of the interaction was in doubt (that is, when the outcome of the
interaction was both open-ended and important). This led to Marcus' player
investing skill points in interaction skills and Eadric's player changing
his perception of how forceful and intimidating Eadric was when talking.

I don't think it would have been particularly fair on the new player,
whose character allocated a signficant number of skill points to
interaction skills (that is, maxing out Bluff and Intimidation), if I had
allowed Eadric's player to use his personal social skills to get the
benefits of, for example, successful intimidation checks when the
character had an Intimidation skill of -1. However, YMMV, and I'm
genuinely interested in learning how a different GM would have handled a
similar situation.

Paul Grogan

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 7:35:33 PM9/10/03
to
> I could be wrong, but I've yet to meet a DM who can ignore player charisma while still using a subjective social-skills mechanic.

Well, if you want a trip to the UK, you can meet me, since I do
exactly that.

This whole conversation is one of my 'hot topics', where I go on and
on for hours, sometimes to people who dont know what an RPG is. :)
However, I consider myself in the minority, as I know so many people
disagree.

First of all, lets get something straight. What is role-playing?

To me, role-playing is easily defined. Doing and possibly saying what
your character would do, not what you would do. Thats it. Nothing in
there about having to put on an accent and say "In sooth" or whatever.

I think this has been a misunderstanding ever since RPG's began,
especially with D&D. Even GM's now say that a good adventure should
have a good mix of combat, exploration, problem solving and
role-playing.

The common misconception is that when you interact with other PC's or
NPC's, this is the only 'role-playing' part of the session. Total BS.
You are playing a paladin, and you are in combat, you move your figure
to protect the prisoners who are trying to escape, putting yourself at
risk (dont slate me on the example, I just thought of it). Why do you
do that? Because that is what your character would have done, you are
role-playing.

Apologies if I'm coming across as a know-it-all, but its late here,
and I'm trying to put things short and simple. And also, it still
suprises me how many players with 20 years experience think that they
only need to role-play when interacting with NPC's.

Anyway, back to the point, whatever that was.

Because I have played with a wide variety of gamers, some who have
more charisma themselves than others (note, players, not characters),
I have seen that with most GM's, the players with the good
communication skills always get treated nicely by the NPC's. Some
GM's just ignore Charisma, except for the in-game bonuses like on
turning checks and stuff.

Some groups 'act out' entire conversations, and its usually down to
the players ability to negotiate, rather than the characters. This is
unfair on the players who have less natural skills themselves.

Now, most GM's I know do use the skills, now that D&D 3.0 actually has
skills to cover things like bluff, diplomacy etc. But, if the player
talks nicely or says the right things, they give them a bonus.

Again, I think this is unfair. Why should 2 players whose characters
have the same charisma, and the same ranks in diplomacy be treated
differently because one of the players is better at talking.

So, in our group, we make the rolls. First, each character makes an
initial charisma check for the NPC to see what his initial reaction
is. This method has actually brought some interesting situations up,
since we roll the dice and then explain it. OK, so the Elf with a cha
bonus of +2 rolled a '1', so I quickly come up with a reason why the
NPC doesnt like him much, maybe his father was killed by an elf, who
knows.

Just putting NPC reactions down to the GM leans towards a somewhat
boring, run of the mill thing (which is ok with some people).

So, anyway, thats the initial reaction done. It is irrelevant what
the player does. Even if the player says "Good afternoon my fine
gentleman, what a lovely shop you have here, we would like to purchase
some of your finest arrows", he aint gonna get a bonus. Why? Because
what the character says is determined by the characters ability to
interact with people, not the players.

So, when it comes to diplomacy / bluff / whatever, we just roll.
Then, sometimes we act out the conversation for fun, but using the
results of the dice to guide the conversation.

An example. The players are offered a job and will be paid 1000gp.
One player says that he will use his diplomacy skill to get a better
price. So, we roll.

If the player gets really low I will then go into character and say
"Do you not know where you are? This is the city of Hinterway, you do
not barter in the city of Hinterway. The price is final, take it or
leave it, but make your decision soon, or else I will find someone
else"
etc. etc. you get the idea.
Even if the player then says something like "Oh, erm, I'll be nice to
him and tell him how nice his beard is", it isnt going to get a bonus,
because thats what the charisma and the diplomacy skill of the
character is for.

Thanks to anyone who managed to read this far. And again, apologies if
I came across too harsh, I'm just letting you know the way I do
things. I see myself as a very fair and unbiased GM. I make very few
decisions myself. Over the last 12 months I've run two weekly D&D
sessions and its been the best gaming experience I've had. The amount
of interesting little bits of information and flavour that we have had
because we roll a lot of dice and then come up with a reason why has
been really good.

Paul

Geoffrey Brent

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 8:52:38 PM9/10/03
to
Gary Johnson wrote:

>>How so? I specifically mentioned above that in this situation I would
>>set the bar lower for a character with high Cha. (To which, for clarity,
>>I should have added "and/or skill points in Bluff".) The character's
>>investment in social stats _does_ have an impact on how likely they are
>>to succeed here.
>
>
> To use the starting PCs for my current game as an example: Marcus and
> Jonyn had Charisma 10; Eadric and Ulfgar had Charisma 8. Nobody invested
> skill points in interaction skills. Marcus and Jonyn had a +5% chance of
> success in an interaction skill check.
>
> How should a GM go about "setting the bar lower" for Marcus and Jonyn in
> this case? In this case, it was further complicated by the fact that
> Marcus and Eadric have socially dominant players, while Jonyn and Ulfgar
> do not.

Just to re-establish context here, since it has a way of being
forgotten: I mentioned several ways in which roleplaying social
interaction can be integrated with character stats. This bit of the
discussion refers to a diceless method, but I'm *not* claiming this is
the only way to do it or that it's appropriate for every situation. With
that out of the way...

First off, if I was working solely from these character stats, I'd
suspect that these players *don't* see social stats as a big part of the
game. For the most part, players tend to allocate points towards the
things that interest them. Maybe these guys like social interaction, but
want to roleplay it rather than rolling; maybe it doesn't particularly
interest them.

In the latter case, pretty much any method will work as long as it's not
too intrusive and time-consuming. In the former, rolling might work
*against* what the players want to do.

But let's assume that I was wrong: these players *do* want their social
stats to have an effect on the game. Let's say they're all trying to
bluff their way past the same guard at the city gates, one by one, and
I've decided an average character has just less than a 50-50 chance of
success - about equivalent to DC 12, if we were using dice.

Eadric is a special case here, since he's "playing down". That might be
a deliberate decision - he might *enjoy* the challenge of playing a
tactless character. If so, he's not going to be too bothered when he
fails social tasks, since that's something he sees as an interesting
part of the character. But I'll take the harder case, and assume he just
took Cha 8 because it freed up a few points for other things. So:

Jonyn: low-Cha player (relatively speaking), 10 Cha character.
Marcus: high-Cha player, 10 Cha character.
Ulfgar: low-Cha player, 8 Cha character.
Eadric: high-Cha player, 8 Cha character.

They're in character, I'm in character as the guard.

Jonyn steps up. "Er, hello, I'm here with a message for the, um, King."
Taken on its own, it's not very convincing. But I know Jonyn's player
well enough to know this is slightly above average *for him*, and I
translate that into a slightly above-average performance for the
character. (Perhaps the character doesn't um and er as much as his
player, perhaps he has a more confident tone of voice). Can an
average-charisma person, on a good performance, talk his way past the
guard? I've already decided this isn't too hard a task, so yes.
(Parallel: a Cha 10 character rolls a 12.)

Marcus' turn. "Stand aside, guard, I've an important message for the
King and it cannot be delayed." Marcus' *player* is more convincing than
Jonyn's, but by the player's standards this is a pretty average
performance. This translates to an average performance for a Cha 10
character. Even though Marcus' *player* performed better than Jonyn's
player, the character did worse - maybe his tone was unconvincing, or he
couldn't meet the guard's eyes. The guard is unimpressed, and makes him
wait. (Parallel: a Cha 10 character rolls a 10 or 11.)

Ulfgar's turn. The player does about as well as Jonyn's player did. This
is slightly above average for Ulfgar's player, translating into slightly
above average for a Cha 8 character. Not quite enough to make it.
(Parallel: a Cha 8 character rolls a 12, adjusted to 11.)

Eadric's turn. (Assuming we're relying on me to adjust the difficulty
for him, rather than him 'playing down'). The player is going to have to
be *really* impressive for success here. Partly because he has a Cha 8
character, and partly because I know the player is good at that sort of
thing.

In practice, a 2-point Charisma difference won't translate to exactly a
5% difference in success chance when done that way, but I don't think it
has to to be workable. Note that this *does* require a reasonably good
knowledge of the players' capabilities; without that, I'd be more
inclined to use dice.

> IMO, the only equitable way to manage this situation was to do what I did
> and insist that rolling interaction skill checks was required whenever the
> outcome of the interaction was in doubt (that is, when the outcome of the
> interaction was both open-ended and important).

See my response to Bradd - while rolling skill checks is more equitable,
the difference isn't enough (under my tastes) to make up for the negatives.

> I don't think it would have been particularly fair on the new player,
> whose character allocated a signficant number of skill points to
> interaction skills (that is, maxing out Bluff and Intimidation), if I had
> allowed Eadric's player to use his personal social skills to get the
> benefits of, for example, successful intimidation checks when the
> character had an Intimidation skill of -1.

This new character changes things. At that point my assumption that
players aren't interested in the social task system is no longer
applicable, and I'm much more likely to use dice at this point. I'm not
suggesting that the diceless method is best (or even workable) for all
possible groups, just presenting it as one option on the menu.

Now, I have a question for you... Suppose the party defeat their foe,
and find some treasure. It doesn't divide up evenly, so they have to
negotiate about who gets what.

In-character, New Player _should_ get the better deal, since his
character has better social skills than Eadric. How do you represent
that? Or do you allow player strengths to trump character strengths here?

Geoffrey Brent

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 9:54:16 PM9/10/03
to
Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:

>>I'm quite willing to allow characters who are more socially adept than
>>their players, and to have the rules reflect this in some way, but I
>>don't want to turn social interactions into a free ride.
>
>
> It's *not* a free ride. You spend ability scores, skill points, feats,
> and magic items to get it. It's not a free ride any more than a high
> Strength, high BAB, and a magic weapon are a free ride. The only "free
> ride" is the bonus some players get for having good real-life social or
> acting skills -- a bonus that he paid nothing for in-game.

Two different sorts of free ride. One is where you get something without
spending any *points* (gold, etc etc) to get it. The other is where you
get something without any *effort* on the player's behalf. I was talking
about the latter. IMHO, if you want to be Beautiful Queen of the Fey,
spending points on social stats is only part of the equation - you
should also be making a certain amount of effort to play that character.

> Compare it to combat skill. Player tactical skill makes a big
> difference, but microtactical skill does not. A real-life klutz can play
> a monk just as well as a blackbelt can. The same should be true for
> social skills, IMO.

In your game, you are undoubtedly right. However, that is *not* a
universal preference. Some gamers like their own microtactical skill to
affect combat, which is why things like GURPS and boffer combat exist.
Equally, some gamers like their microtactical skill to affect social
challenges.

My contention here is that on the latter point, D&D is flexible enough
to allow players the choice - and not just an "either/or" choice, but
shading in between where both player and character skill influence
things, because some people like it that way.

> A good tactical approach to a social situation
> should help, but real-life social and acting skills should not.
> Otherwise, you get a situation where charismatic players get free
> bonuses.

But picking the right tactical approach to a social situation *is* a
social skill. To say that characters should get bonuses for *that* sort
of player social skill, but not for player's social microtactics, is
fine as an individual preference but seems rather arbitrary as a
universal rule.

When you say "should" and "should not" here, is there an implied "in my
game", or is this intended as a general rule?

>>>That's why I feel that using the same system for everyone is the only
>>>fair way to handle this.
>
>
>>Still not completely bias-free, because a GM's decisions on how
>>frequent and how important social checks are going to be can favour or
>>short-change diplomatic characters.
>
> Not if you apply the same rules consistently to all players. Follow the
> rules given in the game. Make one check for initial reactions. Make
> another check according to the rules for each skill: One Diplomacy check
> for each negotiation. One Bluff check for each lie.

Hypothetical party contains a socially-adept bard, a wizard who
concentrates on item creation feats and has the money and XP to use
them, and a druid who concentrates on survival and animal skills. I can
throw them into a socially-oriented adventure where important
negotiations abound, or a wilderness adventure where the party don't
encounter another human or demi-human for weeks on end and the major
threat is being eaten by dire bears. Or I can give them some downtime.

The choice between those options is a GM judgement call with a very
obvious potential to favour one character over another. Even if you play
every challenge entirely by the book, you're still picking the
challenges, and therein lies the opportunity for favouritism.

See also my question for Gary: how do you make intra-party negotiations
depend on character stats rather than player strengths? If you don't,
isn't that inconsistent with the approach to other negotiations?

>>But while fairness is a very important part of the game, it's not the
>>only thing that counts. The improvement in fairness has to be balanced
>>against possible detraction from other things. In my eyes, that
>>improvement is not a large one, and the negative effects can be
>>significant.
>
>
> What negative effects?

Fostering an attitude of "it doesn't matter *what* I say here, the only
things that matter are the stats on my sheet and the luck of the dice".
Which can very easily lead to players not bothering to roleplay at all.
In some games this may not be a negative; in mine, it is.

>>Sometimes somebody roleplays a negotiation with an NPC, and it's
>>consistent with what the characters are capable of, and the
>>negotiation is interesting in itself... and then the dice basically
>>tell you that it didn't happen. That's equally unsatisfying.
>
>
> Then roll the dice *before* you act it out, so that you know how to
> role-play it!

No more satisfying, since the negotiation is still pointless. Some
people enjoy watching scripted wrestling matches, but I'm not one of them.

>>Relying entirely on the player's social skills is undesirable for
>>reasons that you've already covered, but IMHO relying solely on
>>character stats is also undesirable because it fosters laziness.
>
>
> If players are lazy about acting out the results of a check, maybe it's
> because they're not all that interested in acting. If so, then rewarding
> the good actors by making their characters more successful will only
> exaggerate feelings of envy and favoritism.

If they're not interested in acting, I agree, dice are the way to go.
But it's quite possible to be interested in acting and *still* get
frustrated by knowing that no matter how well or how badly you act, it
won't make a lick of difference, because the outcome has already been
rolled.

>>I prefer to find some middle ground.
>
>
> Then award circumstance bonuses for making a good effort (in the form of
> social strategy and tactics, *not* acting ability).

Why do you think I should treat player acting ability differently from
tactical-level player social skills here?

Preferably, without relying on drawing parallels to the combat system,
since those parallels rely on the assumption that players want equal
levels of player-skill involvement in both - something that is not
always the case.

> But don't wing it,
> because that's an almost-certain way to introduce favoritism toward the
> more charismatic players.

IMHO, players should be able to trust their GM to keep favouritism under
control. If they don't, then the game is in trouble already, because
judgement calls are an inescapable part of D&D.

Geoffrey Brent

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 9:59:35 PM9/10/03
to
Bradd W. Szonye wrote:

> Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:

>>How so? I specifically mentioned above that in this situation I would
>>set the bar lower for a character with high Cha .... The character's
>>investment in social stats _does_ have an impact on how likely they
>>are to succeed here.
>
>
> That works reasonably well for the uncharismatic player with a talented
> PC, but it works very poorly for the opposite case: the charismatic
> player who puts a dump stat into Cha and no social skill point. Suppose
> that a really glib player drops a 3 into his PC's Charisma. How high do
> you "set the bar" for that? Do you arbitrarily make him fail at almost
> all social interactions?

Fail at almost all social interactions, yes. That's what Cha 3 *means*.

Arbitrarily, no. If the player manages a performance that's superb *by
their standards*, I treat that in much the same way you might treat a
Cha 3 character who rolled a 20 on their skill check, modified down to
16. If the performance is average by their standards, I treat it about
the same way you might treat a roll of 10, modified down to 6. (Which,
for some very simple tasks, may still be adequate.)

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 10:19:28 PM9/10/03
to
> Gary Johnson wrote:
>> How should a GM go about "setting the bar lower" for Marcus and Jonyn in
>> this case? In this case, it was further complicated by the fact that
>> Marcus and Eadric have socially dominant players, while Jonyn and Ulfgar
>> do not.

Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
> Just to re-establish context here, since it has a way of being
> forgotten: I mentioned several ways in which roleplaying social
> interaction can be integrated with character stats.

OK. I see some of them as being unfair and therefore inferior.

> This bit of the discussion refers to a diceless method, but I'm *not*
> claiming this is the only way to do it or that it's appropriate for
> every situation.

And I think that method is generally *inferior*. It isn't just diceless;
it's also divorced from the character's abilities in a subjective way.

> First off, if I was working solely from these character stats, I'd
> suspect that these players *don't* see social stats as a big part of
> the game.

Or maybe they just didn't feel like playing diplomats this time. Or
maybe they know that the stats are irrelevant, given the way the DM runs
the game. Or maybe they're hoping that they can get by on player skill,
effectively getting character skill for free.

> For the most part, players tend to allocate points towards the things
> that interest them.

I'm interested in combat skill, but I don't always play a fighter. In
D&D, you can't be good at everything. I like both fighters and wizards,
but I can't easily play a character who's good at both.

> Maybe these guys like social interaction, but want to roleplay it

> rather than rolling ....

Why do you present the two as mutually exclusive? How is it better
"roleplaying" to persuade the DM at the player level, regardless of the
character's skills? That's not role-playing. That's arguing with your
DM.

> maybe it doesn't particularly interest them.

Again, compare that to melee combat. Maybe that doesn't particularly
interest them. How would you resolve combat in that case? Would you just
wing it? Would you judge things ad hoc, based on the players' real-life
knowledge of combat skill? That makes no sense.

> In the latter case, pretty much any method will work as long as it's
> not too intrusive and time-consuming.

D&D skill checks are not intrusive or time-consuming. You can even
ignore social skill checks entirely if you like. If the PCs never try to
lie or influence NPC attitudes, just use the default attitudes. No mess,
no fuss.

> In the former, rolling might work *against* what the players want to do.

How? You describe your character (using skill points, in D&D). You
determine the result. You role-play your character's abilities and the
result of the check as best you can. Voila! You have role-playing.

You seem to have fallen into the trap that "role-playing" means "I use
my own social skills instead of my character's, and I use them to
persuade the DM instead of persuading the NPCs." That's bullshit.

> Let's say they're all trying to bluff their way past the same guard at
> the city gates, one by one, and I've decided an average character has
> just less than a 50-50 chance of success - about equivalent to DC 12,

> if we were using dice ....


>
> Jonyn: low-Cha player (relatively speaking), 10 Cha character.
> Marcus: high-Cha player, 10 Cha character.
> Ulfgar: low-Cha player, 8 Cha character.
> Eadric: high-Cha player, 8 Cha character.
>
> They're in character, I'm in character as the guard.
>
> Jonyn steps up. "Er, hello, I'm here with a message for the, um,
> King." Taken on its own, it's not very convincing. But I know Jonyn's
> player well enough to know this is slightly above average *for him*,
> and I translate that into a slightly above-average performance for the

> character .... (Parallel: a Cha 10 character rolls a 12.)

This is exactly the kind of subjective assessment I object to. Who are
you to judge how convincing he is relative to his "average" performance?

> Marcus' turn. "Stand aside, guard, I've an important message for the
> King and it cannot be delayed." Marcus' *player* is more convincing
> than Jonyn's, but by the player's standards this is a pretty average
> performance. This translates to an average performance for a Cha 10

> character .... (Parallel: a Cha 10 character rolls a 10 or 11.)

This is complete bullshit, and it leads to exactly the kind of "negative
consequences" you claim to dislike. What if this player is having a bad
day, and he's just not up to his usual ability? What if he's deliberatly
trying to play down to his character's level of ability (which is what
roleplaying is *really* about)?

If I were Marcus, I'd be pissed. I'm trying to play my character as
designed, and you've just told me that I fail. If I ask why, all you can
say is, "Well, it was only an average performance for you." At that
point, I tell you to fuck off, because you're just making shit up
according to your whims.

> Eadric's turn. (Assuming we're relying on me to adjust the difficulty
> for him, rather than him 'playing down'). The player is going to have
> to be *really* impressive for success here.

So if Eadric is sick, or if he actually tries to play down to his
character's actual ability, he has absolutely no chance to succeed.
That's utter bullshit. This is exactly why subjective means of resolving
social skills are fatally flawed. A player has a bad day, and he's
screwed. Meanwhile, the player with no social skills gets a major
handicap. At the player level, the player who *seems* skillful loses,
while the one who seems clueless wins.

That comes across as pure favoritism, pity, whatever you call it, and
it *discourages* roleplaying. That's because the charismatic players
can't play their actual characters without getting screwed, and the
uncharismatic players can't play their actual characters, period.

What does this accomplish that you can't do more fairly with skill checks?

> See my response to Bradd - while rolling skill checks is more
> equitable, the difference isn't enough (under my tastes) to make up
> for the negatives.

What negatives? You roll the check, and the players play it out the best
they can. The portrayals may not match the results exactly, but that
happens in your system too! See your own example: The player with the
*better* portrayal loses while the *worse* player wins!

And the whole claim that dice cause laziness is bullshit too. If you
want good roleplaying, then reward it with praise or (if necessary) with
brownie points. If you want the players to think about social strategy,
then give them circumstance modifiers for *strategy*. But "translating"
a player's charisma like you do is blatantly unfair.

Sorry for the harsh words, but the crap you're describing above would
drive me out of a game group. If the player's *really* don't care about
social skills, then get rid of the biased "translation" system. It only
adds counterintuitive bias to an already subjective system, which makes
the weirdness and the potential for favoritism even worse.

>> I don't think it would have been particularly fair on the new player,
>> whose character allocated a signficant number of skill points to

>> interaction skills ....

> This new character changes things. At that point my assumption that
> players aren't interested in the social task system is no longer
> applicable, and I'm much more likely to use dice at this point.

You should've been doing it from the beginning, instead of applying a
bizarre system biased in two directions.

> I'm not suggesting that the diceless method is best (or even workable)
> for all possible groups, just presenting it as one option on the menu.

I'd go much further and call it blatantly unfair and prone to severe
conflicts between players. It might work tolerably well in a group that
really doesn't care about that stuff, but you can get better results,
for the same amount of work, by rolling the skill checks from the
beginning.

> Now, I have a question for you... Suppose the party defeat their foe,
> and find some treasure. It doesn't divide up evenly, so they have to
> negotiate about who gets what. In-character, New Player _should_ get
> the better deal, since his character has better social skills than
> Eadric.

Why? Social skill checks aren't mind control (at least not until epic
levels), and characters are not required to use them to their fullest.
If Eadric's player chooses to call for a negotiation (Diplomacy) check
to get a better cut, he can. If he wins an opposed check, he has an
advantage in the negotiation. The rules don't get more specific than
that.

I think a negotiation check would make the most sense in situations
where the players would be inclined to flip a coin over the result.
Instead of flipping, roll Diplomacy checks. (I'll need to remember this
the next time it comes up in our games.)

Eadric's player might not want to do that, though. He was to work with
these people long-term, and being greedy might cause resentment even
though he can out-negotiate in the short term. Therefore, he might not
want to haggle over every treasure pile.

> How do you represent that? Or do you allow player strengths to trump
> character strengths here?

Personally, I prefer to leave these decisions up to the players, since
they're the ones who need to work together. The results can sometimes be
unfair or otherwise cause group cohesion problems, and then I get
involved, but usually I try to stay out of it as DM.

Gary Johnson

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 11:29:22 PM9/10/03
to
Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
> Gary Johnson wrote:

>>>How so? I specifically mentioned above that in this situation I would
>>>set the bar lower for a character with high Cha. (To which, for
>>>clarity, I should have added "and/or skill points in Bluff".) The
>>>character's investment in social stats _does_ have an impact on how
>>>likely they are to succeed here.
>>
>> To use the starting PCs for my current game as an example: Marcus and
>> Jonyn had Charisma 10; Eadric and Ulfgar had Charisma 8. Nobody
>> invested skill points in interaction skills. Marcus and Jonyn had a +5%
>> chance of success in an interaction skill check.
>>
>> How should a GM go about "setting the bar lower" for Marcus and Jonyn
>> in this case? In this case, it was further complicated by the fact that
>> Marcus and Eadric have socially dominant players, while Jonyn and
>> Ulfgar do not.
>
> Just to re-establish context here, since it has a way of being
> forgotten: I mentioned several ways in which roleplaying social
> interaction can be integrated with character stats. This bit of the
> discussion refers to a diceless method, but I'm *not* claiming this is
> the only way to do it or that it's appropriate for every situation. With
> that out of the way...

Disclaimer noted. :-)

> First off, if I was working solely from these character stats, I'd
> suspect that these players *don't* see social stats as a big part of the
> game. For the most part, players tend to allocate points towards the
> things that interest them. Maybe these guys like social interaction, but
> want to roleplay it rather than rolling; maybe it doesn't particularly
> interest them.

Because rolling isn't roleplaying ... :-) Personally, I'd phrase your
point along the lines of, "Maybe the players like social interaction, but
want personal skills to be a better reflection of character competence
than character design.

What I think is more likely to be the case is that the players didn't see
social interaction as a major area of risk, so they focussed on developing
character competencies in other areas where they did perceive risk, like
combat. After all, they did design two fighters, a rogue and a hunter
(ranger variant).



> In the latter case, pretty much any method will work as long as it's not
> too intrusive and time-consuming. In the former, rolling might work
> *against* what the players want to do.

> But let's assume that I was wrong: these players *do* want their social
> stats to have an effect on the game.

Or that the other participant in the game, the GM, wants social statistics
to matter in some circumstances. :-)

> Let's say they're all trying to bluff their way past the same guard at
> the city gates, one by one, and I've decided an average character has
> just less than a 50-50 chance of success - about equivalent to DC 12, if
> we were using dice.

> Eadric is a special case here, since he's "playing down".

So is Marcus' player: why is Eadric particularly noteworthy?

> That might be a deliberate decision - he might *enjoy* the challenge of
> playing a tactless character.

Minor objection: low Charisma does not equal tactlessness. However, I
figure you're just using this as a shorthand for how Eadric will act in
the example below, and not as the generic explanation for low Charisma.

> If so, he's not going to be too bothered when he fails social tasks,
> since that's something he sees as an interesting part of the character.
> But I'll take the harder case, and assume he just took Cha 8 because it
> freed up a few points for other things. So:

> Jonyn: low-Cha player (relatively speaking), 10 Cha character.
> Marcus: high-Cha player, 10 Cha character.
> Ulfgar: low-Cha player, 8 Cha character.
> Eadric: high-Cha player, 8 Cha character.

> They're in character, I'm in character as the guard.

> Jonyn steps up. "Er, hello, I'm here with a message for the, um, King."
> Taken on its own, it's not very convincing. But I know Jonyn's player
> well enough to know this is slightly above average *for him*, and I
> translate that into a slightly above-average performance for the
> character.

Eww. Sorry, this wouldn't work for me at all: IMO, the GM isn't there to
analyse the player's acting performances. Also, your examples have
conflated "socially dominant player" with "good at acting player".

<other examples snipped>

>> IMO, the only equitable way to manage this situation was to do what I
>> did and insist that rolling interaction skill checks was required
>> whenever the outcome of the interaction was in doubt (that is, when the
>> outcome of the interaction was both open-ended and important).

> See my response to Bradd - while rolling skill checks is more equitable,
> the difference isn't enough (under my tastes) to make up for the
> negatives.

Then I guess YMV. Nothing the matter with that.

>> I don't think it would have been particularly fair on the new player,
>> whose character allocated a signficant number of skill points to
>> interaction skills (that is, maxing out Bluff and Intimidation), if I
>> had allowed Eadric's player to use his personal social skills to get
>> the benefits of, for example, successful intimidation checks when the
>> character had an Intimidation skill of -1.

> This new character changes things. At that point my assumption

One suggestion: why does this have to be an assumption? Much of the
ambiguity in how to handle character social interactions can be avoided,
IMO, if the gaming group negotiates up-front how they prefer to handle
social activity.

> that players aren't interested in the social task system is no longer
> applicable, and I'm much more likely to use dice at this point. I'm not
> suggesting that the diceless method is best (or even workable) for all
> possible groups, just presenting it as one option on the menu.

> Now, I have a question for you... Suppose the party defeat their foe,
> and find some treasure. It doesn't divide up evenly, so they have to
> negotiate about who gets what.

THere's already some assumptions here about the gaming group's social
contract. For example, IMC the characters are on retainer for a noble who
collects antiquities, so the characters always have equipment that matches
the DMG standard allocation for character wealth, plus the players get to
choose what that equipment should be. The answer to this question has to
be, what did the gaming group decide out of play would be the way their
characters distribute treasure in play?

> In-character, New Player _should_ get the better deal, since his
> character has better social skills than Eadric. How do you represent
> that? Or do you allow player strengths to trump character strengths
> here?

No, I allow the gaming group's social contract to determine what should
happen here. What it leads to IMC is that the dwarf's greed is actually a
distinguishing character feature, rather than being par for the course
among all adventurers. The model I proposed to my players and they
accepted may not work for other groups, who have their own social contract
about how to handle the distribution of treasure.

Geoffrey Brent

unread,
Sep 10, 2003, 11:50:40 PM9/10/03
to
Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
>
>
>>First off, if I was working solely from these character stats, I'd
>>suspect that these players *don't* see social stats as a big part of
>>the game.
>
>
> Or maybe they just didn't feel like playing diplomats this time. Or
> maybe they know that the stats are irrelevant, given the way the DM runs
> the game. Or maybe they're hoping that they can get by on player skill,
> effectively getting character skill for free.

Hence, "if I was working solely from these character stats". IRL, I'm
likely to have more information.

If they "know" the stats are irrelevant then they're mistaken, and if
they're hoping to get by on player skill they are also mistaken.

>>For the most part, players tend to allocate points towards the things
>>that interest them.
>
>
> I'm interested in combat skill, but I don't always play a fighter. In
> D&D, you can't be good at everything. I like both fighters and wizards,
> but I can't easily play a character who's good at both.

And when I say "For the most part, players tend to...", that's the bit
that flags that sentence as a *generalisation*. I'm not claiming it as a
cast-iron rule; I fully acknowledge that there are exceptions and that
it's good to gather more information where it's available.

>>Maybe these guys like social interaction, but want to roleplay it
>>rather than rolling ....
>
>
> Why do you present the two as mutually exclusive?

I don't. In fact, if you look at earlier posts in this thread, you will
see me mentioning the option of roleplaying *and* rolling.

When I say "Maybe the guys like X..." I am presenting *one possible
scenario*. I am not making a statement as to the impossibility of others.

When I present a generalisation, that's not a universal rule. When I
present an example, that also is not a universal rule.

> How is it better
> "roleplaying" to persuade the DM at the player level, regardless of the
> character's skills? That's not role-playing. That's arguing with your
> DM.

Big distinction.

Player, in character: "Ho, sir guard! I'm the King's emissary, stand aside!"
GM, in character as guard: "Aye, your lordship!"/"Pull the other one!"

You keep pulling out this "regardless of the character's skills", but it
does NOT apply to the method we're discussing here.

> Again, compare that to melee combat. Maybe that doesn't particularly
> interest them. How would you resolve combat in that case? Would you just
> wing it?

In some cases, this works very well. In the combat-heavy game my wife
runs, our characters had just wiped out the warriors from a tribe of
ogres (using normal combat rules), and come across the hiding place of
the noncombatants - about two dozen of them.

Players, after brief discussion: "Okay, let's kill them all."

GM: "Well, they'll fight back, but they're not going to pose any serious
threat to you... Everybody roll a D20, tell me what you get. Neil, you
rolled a 1? OK, one of the ogresses hits you for [rolls dice] six points
before you get her. You've massacred the entire tribe."

Normally we enjoy combat in that game, but this would've been a
time-consuming and not very interesting combat, and it was getting late.
So the GM ad-libbed it, and we got on with something more interesting.

Another game which I co-GM with a friend is effectively "systemless
D&D". The rules serve as a rough guide to what is and isn't possible -
mind flayers can eat your brain, wizards can cast fireballs - but the
resolution system is "Does it make sense? Do the GMs think it would be
fun for this to succeed? Then it does." We used dice precisely once,
because it was a useful way to generate a little tension. It's
arbitrary, it's ad-hoc, it's unfair, we make a point of being capricious
in that game.

And the players keep begging for more. We've had to turn several people
away, because it's become too popular. I'm not asking you to like that
style of play, just to acknowledge that some like it very much indeed.
If you doubt me, have a look at 'Paranoia' - while it does have a
system, 'fairness' has *nothing* to do with it.

> Would you judge things ad hoc, based on the players' real-life
> knowledge of combat skill? That makes no sense.

You're relying heavily on the combat/social parallel here, and assuming
that it's universally desirable to have the same type of representation
in both.

>>Let's say they're all trying to bluff their way past the same guard at
>>the city gates, one by one, and I've decided an average character has
>>just less than a 50-50 chance of success - about equivalent to DC 12,
>>if we were using dice ....
>>
>>Jonyn: low-Cha player (relatively speaking), 10 Cha character.
>>Marcus: high-Cha player, 10 Cha character.
>>Ulfgar: low-Cha player, 8 Cha character.
>>Eadric: high-Cha player, 8 Cha character.
>>
>>They're in character, I'm in character as the guard.
>>
>>Jonyn steps up. "Er, hello, I'm here with a message for the, um,
>>King." Taken on its own, it's not very convincing. But I know Jonyn's
>>player well enough to know this is slightly above average *for him*,
>>and I translate that into a slightly above-average performance for the
>>character .... (Parallel: a Cha 10 character rolls a 12.)
>
>
> This is exactly the kind of subjective assessment I object to. Who are
> you to judge how convincing he is relative to his "average" performance?

Somebody who knows this guy, and has a reasonable familiarity with how
good he is at handling social situations. Gary's example - to which this
is my response - pretty much *assumes* that the GM has that knowledge.

Sure, it's a subjective assessment. So are questions like "Would the
orcs think to try smoking the PCs out? Would the troll run away?" You
can represent these as Int checks, or Will saves, but deciding when to
roll and what the DC should be still makes for subjectivity.

'Subjective' is not synonymous with 'arbitrary', and neither are
synonymous with 'wrong'.

>>Marcus' turn. "Stand aside, guard, I've an important message for the
>>King and it cannot be delayed." Marcus' *player* is more convincing
>>than Jonyn's, but by the player's standards this is a pretty average
>>performance. This translates to an average performance for a Cha 10
>>character .... (Parallel: a Cha 10 character rolls a 10 or 11.)
>
>
> This is complete bullshit, and it leads to exactly the kind of "negative
> consequences" you claim to dislike. What if this player is having a bad
> day, and he's just not up to his usual ability?

Much the same as if we're rolling for it, and he rolls badly. On any
task that needs a resolution system, you have a chance of success and a
chance of failure, and sometimes you're going to screw up.

> What if he's deliberatly
> trying to play down to his character's level of ability (which is what
> roleplaying is *really* about)?

A possibility that I'd specifically mentioned earlier. I explained why,
IMHO, this was an easier case to deal with. I noted that I'd be
discussing the harder case in which players *don't* take the
responsibility for playing down, and the comments on "Marcus' turn" are
in *that* context.

For the umpteenth time, I am not claiming that this is a method that
works for all players in all possible contexts. I made it clear that I
was discussing this in one particular context - where the GM *knows*
that some of his players are more socially adept than others, and where
the players don't want to take the responsibility of pulling their punches.

>>Eadric's turn. (Assuming we're relying on me to adjust the difficulty
>>for him, rather than him 'playing down'). The player is going to have
>>to be *really* impressive for success here.
>
>
> So if Eadric is sick, or if he actually tries to play down to his
> character's actual ability, he has absolutely no chance to succeed.

Allow me to requote the context, preceding this bit, that you snipped:

"Eadric is a special case here, since he's "playing down". That might be
a deliberate decision - he might *enjoy* the challenge of playing a
tactless character. If so, he's not going to be too bothered when he
fails social tasks, since that's something he sees as an interesting
part of the character. But I'll take the harder case, and assume he just
took Cha 8 because it freed up a few points for other things."

I had already made it clear that this example DID NOT COVER AND WAS NOT
INTENDED TO COVER the case in which Eadric is deliberately "playing down".

> That's utter bullshit. This is exactly why subjective means of resolving
> social skills are fatally flawed. A player has a bad day, and he's
> screwed.

As he would when he has a bad run on the dice.

> Meanwhile, the player with no social skills gets a major
> handicap. At the player level, the player who *seems* skillful loses,
> while the one who seems clueless wins.

Sometimes - just as when the player who seems more skillful rolls badly,
or their character has bad social stats. However, more often than not
the better performance wins, because the better performance is more
likely to be above-average for the player.

> Sorry for the harsh words, but the crap you're describing above would
> drive me out of a game group.

I'm not trying to come up with a system that works for you. You have
your preferences, you've found a system that works well with those
preferences, your problem is solved.

But the post that sparked this sub-thread makes it clear that your
system does *not* work well for all gamers. The poster made it clear
that he didn't like a system that relied purely on dice, so I offered up
a couple that don't.

>>Now, I have a question for you... Suppose the party defeat their foe,
>>and find some treasure. It doesn't divide up evenly, so they have to
>>negotiate about who gets what. In-character, New Player _should_ get
>>the better deal, since his character has better social skills than
>>Eadric.
>
>
> Why? Social skill checks aren't mind control (at least not until epic
> levels), and characters are not required to use them to their fullest.
> If Eadric's player chooses to call for a negotiation (Diplomacy) check
> to get a better cut, he can. If he wins an opposed check, he has an
> advantage in the negotiation. The rules don't get more specific than
> that.

ISTR the rules specifically mentioning that skill checks *cannot* be
used to dictate PC reactions, and that players always have freedom of
choice over how their characters react (unless under effects such as
charm that go beyond the skill section). I'll see if I can dig this one
up tonight.


Thraka

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 1:56:03 AM9/11/03
to
"Bradd W. Szonye" <bradd...@szonye.com> wrote in message
news:slrnbltg79.a...@szonye.com...

> Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
> > True, but it's possible to adjust the bar depending on the player and
> > character. For instance, if we're playing out a Bluff attempt, I'll
> > require a much more convincing performance from my wife than I will
> > from the eleven-year-old - especially if he's playing a high-Cha
> > character.
>
> That doesn't really help, IMO. It just adds DM bias into the mix.

IMO, a game without DM bias is a CRPG. ;)

> > IMHO, part of GMing is being sensitive to what interests the players.
> > If somebody maxes out their Diplomacy skill, I'll take that as a sign
> > that they're interested in using that part of the skill system, and so
> > I'll use those rules (including rolling for social tasks) more often
> > than I otherwise would. If players don't show any interest in
> > Diplomacy skills, I'll usually just roleplay it.
>
> That's reasonable, I suppose, although this still sets up the
> "charismatic players win more" situation.

Nah, not necessarily. Let the charismatic players help the non charismatic
ones figure out what to say, especially if the character has the skills the
player doesn't. I often use input from other players to represent really
high stats. If the wizard is trying to solve a problem, his 18 intelligence
justifies letting his player get advice from the table. Same with
diplomatic stuff. Works for us, anyway.

> > OTOH, "Play it or roll it, GM's choice" can be used to fix things up
> > here - a less-competent player gets the option for a roll where a
> > more-competent one doesn't.
>
> That's exactly what I'm complaining about, though, unless you faithfully
> include very charismatic players in the "less competent" group whenever
> they forget to tone down the charm. And few DMs do that, because that
> same charisma tends to blind them to the problem.
>
> That's why I feel that using the same system for everyone is the only
> fair way to handle this.

Bear in mind, 'fair' is not necessarily the goal. If you're more gamist, it
might be; if you're more freestyle, 'interesting and engaging' beats 'fair',
unless its the sort of unfair where someone gets screwed over hard.

> > For the most part, I default to 'play it out' and use dice as an
> > exception-handler where that default isn't satisfactory.
> > Super-diplomat PCs being one of those exceptions.
>
> Problem is that the default often *seems* satisfactory in cases where it
> really isn't. Players get grumpy when their smooth-talking friend gets
> away with "free Diplomacy," but they rarely speak up about it (probably
> because they expect the DM to side with the smooth talker yet again).

It needn't be that way, though; depends on your group. As I note above,
letting the group work together on things where the character with high
diplomacy works, at least for my group.

Thraka


Thraka

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 2:21:25 AM9/11/03
to
"Paul Grogan" <pa...@runestonegames.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:2fe26b0d.03091...@posting.google.com...

> Again, I think this is unfair. Why should 2 players whose characters
> have the same charisma, and the same ranks in diplomacy be treated
> differently because one of the players is better at talking.

Two fighters of equal level and stats, and access to equipment, are to do
battle. One player chooses, as part of his kit, a bow, and the other does
not, granting him a significant advantage while his opponant closes. One
player uses his feats to great effect, knocking his opponant to the ground,
while the other player uses his feats foolishly.

Now take with wizards in a spell duel. They could have equal access to all
spells, but the players choose the ones the wizard will have. Again, it's
application of player skill. If one wizard has nothing but detect magic,
and one wizard stocks up on damage spells, then you can easily guess who
will die, even though they are both technically equal.

Why would you suggest that, in the particular case of _non combat
interaction_, player skill should not be a factor? I submit that here, of
all places, it _should_ be a factor. Character statistics are lifeless.
They are potential, nothing more. The _player_ breathes life into the
statistics. I see no reason why player choices in non-violent interactions
should be somehow less useful than player choices made in combat.

Thraka


Rupert Boleyn

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 7:01:41 AM9/11/03
to
On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 06:21:25 GMT, "Thraka" <thr...@xenocide.org>
wrote:

>Why would you suggest that, in the particular case of _non combat
>interaction_, player skill should not be a factor? I submit that here, of
>all places, it _should_ be a factor. Character statistics are lifeless.
>They are potential, nothing more. The _player_ breathes life into the
>statistics. I see no reason why player choices in non-violent interactions
>should be somehow less useful than player choices made in combat.

All your examples are tactical, and I don't think anyone has an issue
with player's applying tactical skill to interaction by choosing the
right skill to use, and the right apporach (being polite to the king,
but avoiding flattery as they've asked around and been told he doesn't
like it, etc.). It's having the players play out their actual
conversations that I have an issue with - that's where it's equivalent
to having the players get their swords out and actually fight out an
encounter.

Rupert Boleyn

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 7:04:10 AM9/11/03
to
On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 05:56:03 GMT, "Thraka" <thr...@xenocide.org>
wrote:

>Nah, not necessarily. Let the charismatic players help the non charismatic
>ones figure out what to say, especially if the character has the skills the
>player doesn't. I often use input from other players to represent really
>high stats. If the wizard is trying to solve a problem, his 18 intelligence
>justifies letting his player get advice from the table. Same with
>diplomatic stuff. Works for us, anyway.

Egahds. In the group I GM that would merely give the party's munchkin
and general "I know best" guy license to manipulate the other players
to his own ends. At least as we do things now he's not able to to
freely do this while other people's PCs are doing the talking.

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 12:09:14 PM9/11/03
to
> Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
>> That works reasonably well for the uncharismatic player with a
>> talented PC, but it works very poorly for the opposite case: the
>> charismatic player who puts a dump stat into Cha and no social skill
>> point. Suppose that a really glib player drops a 3 into his PC's
>> Charisma. How high do you "set the bar" for that? Do you arbitrarily
>> make him fail at almost all social interactions?

Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
> Fail at almost all social interactions, yes. That's what Cha 3 *means*.
>
> Arbitrarily, no. If the player manages a performance that's superb *by
> their standards*, I treat that in much the same way you might treat a
> Cha 3 character who rolled a 20 on their skill check, modified down to

> 16 ....

What do you mean by a "superb" performance? Was the player very
persuasive, or did he do a great job of acting like a boor? I'm guessing
the former, because it doesn't make much sense to translate acting
ability into a Diplomacy check.

I object to this method for two reasons:

1. I don't believe that microtactics should affect game outcomes. This
is a poor example of gaming -- they're no abstraction at all, just
arguing with the DM.

2. A player running a Charisma 3 character shouldn't be using his full
real-world charisma to persuade you. He should be trying to play his
character. This is a poor example of role-playing too.

Bad role-playing and bad gaming makes for a bad RPG. Seriously, how does
this crap relate to gaming at all? It's just players and DMs arguing
over a hypothetical solution, with absolutely no fair way to resolve it.
You're just making up results out of thin air and a thin rationalization
that you're taking the player's "average" ability into account. That's
bullshit -- you're taking a real effort made by players, running them
through some biased and arbitrary mental filters, and coming up with the
result that *you* think makes sense. It doesn't get any more unfair than
that.

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 12:38:43 PM9/11/03
to
Rupert Boleyn <rbo...@paradise.net.nz> wrote:
> All your examples are tactical, and I don't think anyone has an issue
> with player's applying tactical skill to interaction by choosing the
> right skill to use, and the right apporach .... It's having the

> players play out their actual conversations that I have an issue with
> - that's where it's equivalent to having the players get their swords
> out and actually fight out an encounter.

What I object to are the notions that meta-game persuasion is
"roleplaying" and that role-playing is at odds with randomized outcomes.
While randomizers are at odds with the use of *player* social skills,
relying on your meta-game social skills is *not* roleplaying.

Justisaur

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 12:40:37 PM9/11/03
to

"Bradd W. Szonye" wrote:
>
> Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
> >>>> True, but it's possible to adjust the bar depending on the player
> >>>> and character. For instance, if we're playing out a Bluff attempt,
> >>>> I'll require a much more convincing performance from my wife than I
> >>>> will from the eleven-year-old - especially if he's playing a
> >>>> high-Cha character.
>
> Bradd wrote:
> >>> That doesn't really help, IMO. It just adds DM bias into the mix.
>
> > Gary Johnson wrote:
> >> I agree. It also opens up the scope for "free skill points" ....
>
> > How so? I specifically mentioned above that in this situation I would
> > set the bar lower for a character with high Cha .... The character's
> > investment in social stats _does_ have an impact on how likely they
> > are to succeed here.
>
> That works reasonably well for the uncharismatic player with a talented
> PC, but it works very poorly for the opposite case: the charismatic
> player who puts a dump stat into Cha and no social skill point. Suppose
> that a really glib player drops a 3 into his PC's Charisma. How high do
> you "set the bar" for that? Do you arbitrarily make him fail at almost
> all social interactions? Do you forget and let the player's glibness
> sway your decisions? Either way, it's unfair. In the former case, you're
> not even giving the player a chance, and in the latter case, you're
> effectively giving his PC free Charisma and skill points.
>

I've tried this and it works fairly well. I've got a fairly charismatic
player, (well maybe a 12-14, but that's saying a lot for a player) and
he's playing a low cha half orc. Basicly I have him role-play whatever
he wants, and roll it. There was one unimportant conversation he had
which seemed to be going o.k. I had him roll diplomacy. He rolled a 1
(-1 after modifiers). We both decided that the person he was talking to
just took everything he was saying the wrong way. He as well
re-emphasised the parts that could be taken the wrong way, and his
character basicly started a fight.

> There is a simple way to keep this fair: Ignore the quality of the
> player's acting and persuasive skills and use the D&D mechanics instead.
> Roll the result and let the players act it out as well as they care to.
> If you like, award XP or brownie points for good portrayals of the
> results. But going on gut feel and ad hoc adjustments based on the
> acting fosters unfairness, envy, and accusations of favoritism IME.

Not really. You can take a circumstance bonus depending on thier
"acting" (either -2 or +2, or nothing) which may affect an outcome.
I've actually had more problems in my last campain going strictly off
the diplomacy chart, as one of the PCs had a very high charisma and
pumped all his skill he could into diplomacy. The relsult was comical
and totally unballanced, as everyone he met he tried to influence became
his best friend, the bad guys repented etc. I decided that was
definately not the way to go.

One skill to rule them all...

--
- Justisaur -
check http://justisaur.tripod.com/well.htm for my encounter generator,
xp calculator, and other usefull documents.

Justisaur

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 1:02:49 PM9/11/03
to

"Bradd W. Szonye" wrote:
>
> > Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> >> That's reasonable, I suppose, although this still sets up the
> >> "charismatic players win more" situation.

>

Let me put this in a different light. Is a player who is good with
numbers and systems rewarded for taking advantage of the system over
someone who isn't? Yes they are. Is a player who is good at
"selectively" remembering rules rewarded in play (i.e. a rules lawyer) -
Yes they are.

Justisaur

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 1:07:11 PM9/11/03
to

Are you suggesting they should meta-game conversations? player says "My
charcater tries to convince the guard to let me by. As he knows the
guards are supposed to let by people with messages for the king, he
tries to convince the guard he has a message for the king."

That's as dull and lifeless as playing a computer game.

Paul Grogan

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 1:19:49 PM9/11/03
to
> IMHO, if you want to be Beautiful Queen of the Fey,
> spending points on social stats is only part of the equation - you
> should also be making a certain amount of effort to play that character.

> IMHO, if you want to be Beautiful Queen of the Fey, spending points on social stats is only part of the equation - you should also be making a certain amount of effort to play that character.

OK, now what if the player simply cannot actually act like that
character, but still wants to play it. I call it the Princess Leia
situation, where the most uncharismatic, smelly, nerdy, geeky, will
never get a job or a girlfriend in his like and has the social skills
of a hamster wants to play Princess Leia. Sorry if I offended anyone
:)

Most of us can act a little bit, most of us can pretend to be nice,
and most of us enjoy making a bit of effort in that respect. But
forcing a player to make an effort, even if it makes them feel
uncomfortable is IMO wrong.

Let the players play the game that they want to play, forcing them to
play that you want to play doesnt suit people.

In my game, I've been known to ask "Ok, do you want to act this bit
out for a few minutes or not?". Some of my players like getting into
character and acting it out, and some of them dont want to do any of
that at all, and with some it depends if they've had a hard day at
work. And they are still good role-players because they do what their
character would do (see my previous post).

Paul

Matthew Miller

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 1:26:15 PM9/11/03
to
Paul Grogan <pa...@runestonegames.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> OK, now what if the player simply cannot actually act like that
> character, but still wants to play it. I call it the Princess Leia
> situation, where the most uncharismatic, smelly, nerdy, geeky, will
> never get a job or a girlfriend in his like and has the social skills
> of a hamster wants to play Princess Leia. Sorry if I offended anyone

The exact same situation comes up with the other mental stats, although
it's less fun to admit. Sure, we're all famous for having low social
skills, so the low-Cha situation is easy to talk about. But c'mon, how
many of us *really* have an Int or Wis of 20?

(Opening the cheap-shots window wide open, I know....)


--
Matthew Miller mat...@mattdm.org <http://www.mattdm.org/>
Boston University Linux ------> <http://linux.bu.edu/>

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 1:31:10 PM9/11/03
to
> Rupert Boleyn wrote:
>> It's having the players play out their actual conversations that I
>> have an issue with - that's where it's equivalent to having the
>> players get their swords out and actually fight out an encounter.

Justisaur <rpil...@rcsis.com> wrote:
> Are you suggesting they should meta-game conversations? player says
> "My charcater tries to convince the guard to let me by. As he knows
> the guards are supposed to let by people with messages for the king,
> he tries to convince the guard he has a message for the king."

That's not meta-gaming! That's abstract, but it's still role-playing.
Meta-gaming would be playing out the scene and hoping that your own
social skills will convince the DM instead of checking your character's
skills.

It's a fucked-up world when people believe that meta-game persuasion is
"role-playing" and therefore preferable to actual role-playing. What is
it with you people who think that it's not role-playing unless you act
it out in detail? What's worse is that your method actually encourages
meta-gaming of the player social skills variety. Then we get DMs like
Geoffrey Brent who add yet *another* level of meta-gaming in a futile
attempt to counteract the use of player social skills.

It's disgusting to me, that you all keep switching the labels on
"role-playing" and "meta-gaming," and then use that to prove that
rolling dice is boring or unrewarding because it discourages "RP."
Randomizers and stats discourage *metagaming*, not RP. If dice are
getting in the way of your RP, then you're either deeply immersive, or
you've gotten RP and metagaming mixed up.

Neil Cerutti

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 1:42:33 PM9/11/03
to
In article <slrnbm1c1m...@jadzia.bu.edu>, Matthew Miller
wrote:

> Paul Grogan <pa...@runestonegames.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>> OK, now what if the player simply cannot actually act like
>> that character, but still wants to play it. I call it the
>> Princess Leia situation, where the most uncharismatic, smelly,
>> nerdy, geeky, will never get a job or a girlfriend in his like
>> and has the social skills of a hamster wants to play Princess
>> Leia. Sorry if I offended anyone
>
> The exact same situation comes up with the other mental stats,
> although it's less fun to admit. Sure, we're all famous for
> having low social skills, so the low-Cha situation is easy to
> talk about. But c'mon, how many of us *really* have an Int or
> Wis of 20?
>
> (Opening the cheap-shots window wide open, I know....)

In Living Room Games _Earthdawn_, they renamed Wisdom "Willpower"
and Intelligence "Perception". It's was a good move, I think.
The intelligence and wisdom of a character will spring unbidden
from the mind of his or her player, no matter what the Int and
Wis stat says. As it is in 3E, you have to mentally rename them,
without actually changing the score sheet.

--
Neil Cerutti

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 1:48:23 PM9/11/03
to
Neil Cerutti <hor...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> In Living Room Games _Earthdawn_, they renamed Wisdom "Willpower" and
> Intelligence "Perception". It's was a good move, I think.

It's a good move if you want the players to use their own wisdom and
intelligence when role-playing. It's a bad move if players want to run
characters much smarter than themselves.

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 1:50:50 PM9/11/03
to
Bradd wrote:
>> I could be wrong, but I've yet to meet a DM who can ignore player
>> charisma while still using a subjective social-skills mechanic.

Paul Grogan <pa...@runestonegames.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> Well, if you want a trip to the UK, you can meet me, since I do
> exactly that.

Based on the rest of your article, you don't use a *subjective*
mechanic, you use an objective, randomized mechanic that seeks to
eliminate meta-game influences. I was talking about subjective social
resolution, where the players use their meta-game social skills to
influence the DM, and the DM uses meta-game filters to try to eliminate
that influence. This latter approach introduces at least two opposed
biases which do *not* effectively cancel each other in my experience.
Instead, they only aggravate the problem.

Matthew Miller

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 2:04:45 PM9/11/03
to
Neil Cerutti <hor...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> In Living Room Games _Earthdawn_, they renamed Wisdom "Willpower"
> and Intelligence "Perception". It's was a good move, I think.
> The intelligence and wisdom of a character will spring unbidden
> from the mind of his or her player, no matter what the Int and
> Wis stat says. As it is in 3E, you have to mentally rename them,
> without actually changing the score sheet.

Although in 3E, Wisdom is Perception, as Ron will be glad to tell you.

Neil Cerutti

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 2:17:10 PM9/11/03
to
In article <slrnbm1db7.g...@szonye.com>, Bradd W.

Szonye wrote:
> Neil Cerutti <hor...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> In Living Room Games _Earthdawn_, they renamed Wisdom
>> "Willpower" and Intelligence "Perception". It's was a good
>> move, I think.
>
> It's a good move if you want the players to use their own
> wisdom and intelligence when role-playing.

Yes, that would be good. ;-]

> It's a bad move if players want to run characters much smarter
> than themselves.

There are useful ways that a character nominally much smarter
than the player can be modeled in the game, but the player's RL
intelligence and wisdom are likely to pooch the whole thing
now and then.

To stray OT a bit, _Earthdawn_'s Perception gets used for
Knowledge based skills. So it's not a perfect system either.

--
Neil Cerutti

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 2:49:35 PM9/11/03
to
Geoffrey Brent <g.b...@student.unsw.edu.nos.pam.au> wrote:
>>> I'm quite willing to allow characters who are more socially adept
>>> than their players, and to have the rules reflect this in some way,
>>> but I don't want to turn social interactions into a free ride.

> Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
>> It's *not* a free ride. You spend ability scores, skill points,
>> feats, and magic items to get it. It's not a free ride any more than

>> a high Strength, high BAB, and a magic weapon are a free ride ....

> Two different sorts of free ride. One is where you get something
> without spending any *points* (gold, etc etc) to get it. The other is
> where you get something without any *effort* on the player's behalf.

Why is effort important? Do you require players to put in a special
effort to make sure that their magic missiles work properly? To make
sure that their swords hit the mark?

Also, I think you're being unfairly prejudiced against introverts.
Playing a super-diplomat is very stressful and difficult for an
introvert, even if his DM *doesn't* require him to play it up. Doesn't
that effort count?

>> Compare it to combat skill. Player tactical skill makes a big
>> difference, but microtactical skill does not. A real-life klutz can
>> play a monk just as well as a blackbelt can. The same should be true
>> for social skills, IMO.

> In your game, you are undoubtedly right. However, that is *not* a
> universal preference. Some gamers like their own microtactical skill
> to affect combat, which is why things like GURPS and boffer combat
> exist.

These people prefer detail, even when it interferes with role-playing.
And it does interfere with RP, because that detail makes it difficult to
separate player skill and character skill. It reduces the range of
characters that you can successfully play.

These people typically call it a desire for "realism," but more detail
isn't actually more realistic. It's just less abstract.

> Equally, some gamers like their microtactical skill to affect social
> challenges.

And these people typically call it a desire for "role-playing" rather
than "roll-playing." But again, this isn't really better RP; it's less
abstract, that's all. What really irks me is that reducing abstraction
makes RP *harder*, and yet people talk about this as if it's *better*
for RP. That's bullshit. This has nothing at all to do with role-playing
and everything to do with level of detail.

Microtactical social skills are *bad* for roleplaying. I wish the detail
freaks would realize that it's detail they're after, rather than
co-opting other terms like "realism" and "role-playing," insisting that
their way is "more realistic" or "better for role-playing," because
that's bullshit.

If you prefer detail to abstraction, that's fine, but quit mislabeling
it as something else. Every time you incorrectly refer to "detailed
social interaction" as "good role-playing," you're implicitly putting
down my preferred style of role-playing.

>> A good tactical approach to a social situation should help, but
>> real-life social and acting skills should not. Otherwise, you get a
>> situation where charismatic players get free bonuses.

> But picking the right tactical approach to a social situation *is* a
> social skill. To say that characters should get bonuses for *that*
> sort of player social skill, but not for player's social microtactics,
> is fine as an individual preference but seems rather arbitrary as a
> universal rule.

It's not arbitrary at all. It's based on two principles:

1. The more detail you include in resolution, the more you break the
firewall between player and character. At the micro-tactical level,
the firewall is almost non-existent. That's bad for RP.

2. As you progress from strategy to tactics to microtactics, you add
time pressure. With less time to think, it's harder to differentiate
player and character. This is especially bad for real-time social
skills (i.e., persuading your DM), because there's no time to think
at all. This is a tremendous amount of pressure for an introverted
player.

Real-time social resolution based on quality of performance is
inherently unfair to introverted players.

> When you say "should" and "should not" here, is there an implied "in
> my game", or is this intended as a general rule?

As a general rule. There are exceptions, but since real-time social
resolution is so unfair to introverted player, I consider it one of the
*examples* of why the rule should exist, not an exception to it.

> Hypothetical party contains a socially-adept bard, a wizard who
> concentrates on item creation feats and has the money and XP to use
> them, and a druid who concentrates on survival and animal skills. I
> can throw them into a socially-oriented adventure where important
> negotiations abound, or a wilderness adventure where the party don't
> encounter another human or demi-human for weeks on end and the major
> threat is being eaten by dire bears. Or I can give them some downtime.

Yes, that's a problem, but the bias here goes even deeper than you
realize. It starts when the DM *throws them into* situations. In a sane
group, the DM can't force the bard to keep playing in the wilderness for
weeks at a time. The solutions to this kind of bias range from "Hey,
guys, this is no fun for my character; can we wrap up this quest?" to
"My bard is useless here; he's leaving to group," to "You're a prick,
and I refuse to play in your railroaded game anymore."

> The choice between those options is a GM judgement call ....

Part of your mistake is assuming that those options are the *DM's*
judgment call.

>> What negative effects?

> Fostering an attitude of "it doesn't matter *what* I say here, the
> only things that matter are the stats on my sheet and the luck of the
> dice".

But it does matter. The details shouldn't matter (because that's unfair
to introverts), but the character's approach to the situation does
matter. You're being unfair to introverts, and you're being unfair to
players who prefer abstraction over real-time detail.

> Which can very easily lead to players not bothering to roleplay at
> all. In some games this may not be a negative; in mine, it is.

There's a lot more to roleplaying than real-time social interaction.
Indeed, I'd say that most real-time social stuff is more metagaming than
roleplaying. I think you're confusing the two, and favoring the one
which is inherently unfair.

> If they're not interested in acting, I agree, dice are the way to go.
> But it's quite possible to be interested in acting and *still* get
> frustrated by knowing that no matter how well or how badly you act, it
> won't make a lick of difference, because the outcome has already been
> rolled.

Then give brownie points or even just praise for good acting/RP. It
doesn't need to make a difference in the *game* world, and I feel that
it *shouldn't*, because doing that is blatantly unfair.

>> Then award circumstance bonuses for making a good effort (in the form
>> of social strategy and tactics, *not* acting ability).

> Why do you think I should treat player acting ability differently from
> tactical-level player social skills here?

Because good acting (plus a little praise, if necessary) is its own
reward. Good acting should not make your character more successful, and
neither should player persuasiveness. That's a blatant screw-job for
introverted players.

> IMHO, players should be able to trust their GM to keep favouritism
> under control. If they don't, then the game is in trouble already,
> because judgement calls are an inescapable part of D&D.

They should be, but they can't, especially not if the DM is basing his
decisions on subjective assessments of how the *player* portrays his
character in real-time. Again, that's just a blatant screw-job for the
introverts.

Bradd W. Szonye

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 2:58:56 PM9/11/03
to
Justisaur <rpil...@rcsis.com> wrote:
> Let me put this in a different light. Is a player who is good with
> numbers and systems rewarded for taking advantage of the system over
> someone who isn't? Yes they are.

There are very, very few situations where good math skills make a
difference during play. Mostly, they matter during character design and
planning. How is that difference important? You're not under time
pressure, and you can easily solicit advice from other players.

Compare that to social resolution based on real-time portrayals. Most
players who want this find coaching unacceptable (for the same reason
that they find dice rolls unacceptable), and the time pressure just
makes it more difficult. Merely trying to be persuasive is very
difficult for introverts, and adding that kind of time pressure just
makes it worse. While a DM could try to compensate for that, the stress
alone could discourage introverts from playing this. It's a major
screw-job.

And that's even before you consider other problems like gender
differences in communication, personal issues between the DM and certain
players, and so on. Decent DMs try to be fair, but they can't totally
ignore personal biases in communication, and that can cause major
problems. I've got one player who just plain irritates me during social
interactions, because of the way he plays charismatic PCs. I could not
possibly resolve his social interactions fairly; I must use dice.

> Is a player who is good at "selectively" remembering rules rewarded in
> play (i.e. a rules lawyer) - Yes they are.

Not if the DM is a better rules lawyer than he is.

Ubiquitous

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 4:38:26 PM9/11/03
to
In article <5n8rlvga45j7lohv1...@4ax.com>, ho...@zipworld.com.au
wrote:

>The description for globe of invulnerability says that it excludes all
>spells and spell-like effects whose targets are within the globe.
>
>It also says that the globe can be brought down by a targeted dispel magic
>(but not an area one).
>
>Does this mean that a dispel magic targeted on the caster can bring down
>the globe? This would seem to contradict the first clause above. Or does it
>mean that the dispel has to be targeted on the globe itself?

The description makes it perfectly clear.

--
======================================================================
ISLAM: Winning the hearts and minds of the world, one plane at a time.

Deric Bernier

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 4:45:04 PM9/11/03
to

Justisaur wrote:

> "Bradd W. Szonye" wrote:
> >
> > > Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> > >> That's reasonable, I suppose, although this still sets up the
> > >> "charismatic players win more" situation.
>
> >
>
> Let me put this in a different light. Is a player who is good with
> numbers and systems rewarded for taking advantage of the system over
> someone who isn't? Yes they are. Is a player who is good at
> "selectively" remembering rules rewarded in play (i.e. a rules lawyer) -
> Yes they are.

As are the map maker, the note taker, the guys whose turn it is to bring
snacky treats. Extra incentive for roleplaying is great, but the die roll
should still be the first arbiter.

My girlfriend for instance is very shy, she is just learning the game and
hasn't yet become comfortable enough with either the group or the game to
try active roll playing. I have known many people in the same situation.
Providing an extra boost in xp to dring her out of her shell and make her
more interactive in the group is a good way to do that, but the die roll to
determine degrees of success or failure is still the deciding factor.

I personally have days where I don't feel quite up to par and don't want to
try giving my character an accent or whatnot, other days I am in the zone
and the personality of the character rolls off the tongue and mind.

D

Mister Sharkey

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 5:40:19 PM9/11/03
to
I guess I'll jump in and probably get everyone mad at me. Here goes.

Bradd said:
> Real-time social resolution based on quality of performance is
> inherently unfair to introverted players.

It seems to me that there are several different things going on here.

One is whether the DM treats players "fairly" when they try to use
their characters' social skills (which may differ from their own RL
social skills). Bradd seems to feel very strongly about this. Perhaps
he often games with RL-low-social-skill guys who have a hard time
acting out their characters. Also, fairness seems to be high on
Bradd's priority list for what's "fun" in a game.

Another, which I myself place more importance on, is trying to
encourage players to act their character more, because I think it's
more fun that way. I agree with Justisaur's earlier comment in that I
too prefer players to act out their dialogue with NPCs, rather than
say flat things like, "I ask the guard if we can pass, because we're
on an urgent mission."

I play closer to Geoffrey's style; sometimes I have players roll first
to see if they succeed on a Diplomacy / Fast Talk / whatever roll,
then based on their die roll, have them act it out accordingly. To me,
it doesn't matter if their attempt is lame, as long as they give it a
try! I know that some of my players are bad at acting their
characters; I don't want to penalize them for it, but at the same time
I would like them to improve.

Bradd said:
> Then give brownie points or even just praise for good acting/RP. It
> doesn't need to make a difference in the *game* world, and I feel that

> it *shouldn't*, because doing that is blatantly unfair. [...]


> Because good acting (plus a little praise, if necessary) is its own
> reward. Good acting should not make your character more successful, and
> neither should player persuasiveness. That's a blatant screw-job for
> introverted players.

Geoffrey said:
> > IMHO, players should be able to trust their GM to keep favouritism
> > under control. If they don't, then the game is in trouble already,
> > because judgement calls are an inescapable part of D&D.

Aha: TRUST! Here's what seems the crux of the problem: some groups
trust their DMs to be fair more than others. Bradd's doesn't and
Geoffrey's does. This isn't reconcilable by arguments here on Usenet,
because it's a local difference.

Rupert Boleyn

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 6:11:07 PM9/11/03
to
On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 17:07:11 GMT, Justisaur <rpil...@rcsis.com>
wrote:

>Are you suggesting they should meta-game conversations? player says "My
>charcater tries to convince the guard to let me by. As he knows the
>guards are supposed to let by people with messages for the king, he
>tries to convince the guard he has a message for the king."

No, he could say that, a skill check is made, and then the results are
played out. This is the same as when a character attacks or casts a
spell - the attack is declared, the attack roll is made (and damage,
etc.) then the results are described or played out.

Rupert Boleyn

unread,
Sep 11, 2003, 6:13:39 PM9/11/03