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#35: So My Column Is Late ...

Aeonite

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Don't forget that the way the ENnies are set up you can vote for both of us in the Electronic Book category. And if you must vote for T&J first in E-Book (it totally deserves it, IMHO), feel free to give Baba Yaga the nod in the Best Writing category. I'm sure we all want to see me give White Wolf a whuppin', eh?

eh?

:D

Thanks for the plugs.
 

smascrns

New member
Banned
After I finished I realized walking back to my car from lunch that this may be the first unique idea I have ever had. Not original, because I still firmly believe that there are no new ideas
You are right, it's not a new idea. Actually it was right there in those violent games par excellence, wargames, ancestors of rpgs. It was called 'morale' rules.

In the rpg context this kind of rules is slamed with the argument "I'm the player, I define the mindset of my character, don't come with stinky psychological rules".
 

ross_winn

freelance geek
You are right, it's not a new idea. Actually it was right there in those violent games par excellence, wargames, ancestors of rpgs. It was called 'morale' rules.
Which are exactly the kinds of rules I am trying to avoid. Morale rules are extremely generic and very arbitrary. This idea is a much more flowing idea (in my mind).

In the rpg context this kind of rules is slamed with the argument "I'm the player, I define the mindset of my character, don't come with stinky psychological rules".
I would answer, that is stupid; if that logic held true then you would always define when you hit and how much damage you do, and that is bollocks -- so suck it up.

of course that is just my opinion, and I am a jackass.
 

smascrns

New member
Banned
ross_winn said:
Which are exactly the kinds of rules I am trying to avoid. Morale rules are extremely generic and very arbitrary. This idea is a much more flowing idea (in my mind).
Yes, you want something much more adaptable to the context but the principle is the same. Of course, there are many ways to implement the thing.

I would answer, that is stupid; if that logic held true then you would always define when you hit and how much damage you do, and that is bollocks -- so suck it up.
Agree completely. I also think that there is plenty of scope for psychological attributes and mechanics in rpgs. Heck, all my unfinished games have these:

In The Travels of Mendes Pinto I had a 'combativeness' stage where the players assessed if their characters were willing to fight, and how commited they were to it.

In Gentlemen Explorers and Donjonfeist action resolution has a step for goal definition and another for the player to check if the odds favour the intended action. He they don't the character doesn't do it.

In my current Rough Quests project there's an engagement stage where the character defines if and how the character behaves.

Yes, I like this kind of rules and I think they are perfectly playable but a lot of people disagree and would not like to have them in their games. My rules for combativeness/odds/engagement seem to me to correspond to what you have in mind with "an environmental test and a social test".

In my aproach I combine both tests into one because I prefer to have a minimum of steps in action resolution. I have a single psychological test because in my opinion that's what's at stake: How the character acts and reacts, his psychology. I use the environmental and social factors as modifiers to the psychological test, precisely as you suggest: "These may not be individual tests in the sense that they are discrete die rolls; they may instead be simply modifiers to other rolls".

You also mention, "It is also possible that in some situations the environmental or social tests would not be necessary – on a battlefield, or other areas designed for violence". I would suggest that the test may not be done every round of combat. They are done at the start and repeated if the environmental conditions change in a major way, or if the personal conditions also change in a major way (the character suffers a major blow). On the other hand, I think that its precisely in "areas designed for violence" that the tests should happen... before violence breaks. This allows for the quintessential leader's speach where he tries to motivated his followers to enter the fight in high spirits. It makes for good, intensive roleplaying.

I agree interely with the two consequences of this line of reasoning. I would just add that the mechanics should be similar for fighting and other kinds of actions: The character has to overcome his resistance to fight, but he also has to overcome his resistance to face the danger of jumping above the shasm; and, being shy, he has to overcome his fear of inviting the girl to dance; or is conviction that he has no talent for music; etc.

Rules like these help in building tension and interest in non-combat situations. In order to save the honour of his father the character has to go and face the might Baron, he has to stand to all the big figs of the court, and present the proof of his innocence. But will he have the guts to do it? Or will he start babbling, sweating and become the laugh of the court?

From my perspective this is the major advantage of having such rules, at least as important as their impact in combat.
 
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