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MoonHunter Sayeth 20170728

MoonHunter

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A small rant to keep you entertained.
I encountered this on a post.

I was reading this essay from Erick Wujick about diceless roleplaying where he says:
I rolled up a Thief. With two (2 -- count 'em -- 2) hit points. It was pretty obvious from the very start that Mike wasn't the kind of guy to pull punches as a Dungeon Master. Neither his monsters, nor his traps, were lightweight, and most delivered damage very much in excess of my character's crummy duo of life pips (bear in mind, I was responsible for disabling the traps).

So I responded in the only way that seemed reasonable. I completely avoided rolling the dice. No close combat, and no taking chances. If I had to deal with a lock, or a trap, I learned that I could just keep asking questions, and Mike would keep supplying imaginative answers. The campaign went on and on, and I dissected every trap, every lock, every mechanism, and every arcane bit of machinery. I used every sense, every trick, and role-played my little heart out whenever possible.
Did I have an opinion? ... of course I did. You all know that.

I rolled up a Thief. With two (2 -- count 'em -- 2) hit points. It was pretty obvious from the very start that Mike wasn't the kind of guy to pull punches as a Dungeon Master. Neither his monsters, nor his traps, were lightweight, and most delivered damage very much in excess of my character's crummy duo of life pips (bear in mind, I was responsible for disabling the traps).
A) This is one of the main reason I hate random generation, dice screwed characters.
B) I was this guy. I had less. First level 1 HP. Second level a total of 2 HP. Third level, a total of 3. Fourth level a total of 4. Fifth level I exploded and had a total of 6.

Notice, I was fifth level (before this campaign closed... I played him again in another campaign and he ranked up to 8th (with 13 HPs).) I lived the traps and stealthy scouting with the die rolls. I didn't fight. I presented myself as a valet to one of the fighters. I was his first henchman and minion; He was my (first) plate mail wall. I picked up some skill as servant. If you are smart and careful (thus avoiding most of combat) and a wee bit lucky, you can easily play this kind of character without resorting to GM badgering.

You heard me. Badgering.

That is what it was. You - a player - just keep working the GM until you can find an edge, or they slip up, or they just give it to you. The GM might make you work a bit for it, which takes more time. In fact - either way - this process takes up a heck of a lot of time that other players could be doing things.

Yes, I have a thing about time sucks. Time in Game is the most precious resource a gamer has.
The GM only has so much attention. When focused on only one person, then time in game becomes time waiting at the table instead of Time in Game.


Have you ever been the "other player" in this scenario? Some one else monopolizes the GMs time with repeated or hair splitting questions to eek out that edge... and you are just sitting there waiting for your time to do something? How did this make you feel? Did it disengage you from the game?

So I responded in the only way that seemed reasonable. I completely avoided rolling the dice. No close combat, and no taking chances. If I had to deal with a lock, or a trap, I learned that I could just keep asking questions, and Mike would keep supplying imaginative answers. The campaign went on and on, and I dissected every trap, every lock, every mechanism, and every arcane bit of machinery. I used every sense, every trick, and role-played my little heart out whenever possible.
My play groups have included four state and one national speech and debate champions, two fast talking guys who eventually got masters in marketting, eventually three lawyers, a regional vice president for a major corporation, two guys who became top regional sales guys, a couple with masters degrees in English and Medieval studies, and three eventual engineers and two completed engineers. Oh and did I mention the dukes/ medieval recreationists and some nationally ranked fencers? (Yes, I have had with a couple of play groups and some were pretty large.)

In short, I have had my fill of people who have golden talking skills... (Players with High Charisma/ Social Stats and points in conversation, persuasion, fast talk, high society, low society, and oratory.) None of the "social athletes" ever took social skills, they just counted on the fact that they could be "win" any discussion or argument. People would follow Sam, the CHA 7 character because the player was a natural leader and a good organizer (regional VP). NPCs followed him because of how he was played. (okay I was a player in this game) In fact some of the social guys "conserved the points", avoiding social skills that their characters were using, so they could be more effective in combat or spell casting.

In fact, several of the players' play style was just steamrolling the GM so they never used rules and got what they wanted. (The Rules Lawyers were at least pointing to sections of the book and looking for interpretations. The other guys were just trying to convince the GM that ... it should be this way. Look at me, I just defended Rules Lawyers)

The Engineers did the same thing with any physical trap, mechanism, or such. They knew the answer to any kind of lock or trap. They tied to call bullshit when you didn't describe something thing that "had to be there". Player skills to get a hard edge in the game. (Then there was the infamous "Oh any my peasant fighter wants to set up a wooden cross bridge here." Yah, peasants build bridges all the time.)

My known combatants tried it with anything having to do with combat (less successfully because I am a fencer, an archer, and ranked in JKD and Aikido.... wow I always thought I was a mage, but dang... I am fighter after all... maybe split class or just an odd archetype.)

Anyways....

My response to all of them? What is your character's skill? They often whined, but I said that they might have a higher knowledge roll (or actual skill roll) than their character... but what does your character know? What can your character do? Players can choose tactics, flows, approaches, and points of order, (often getting an advantage because of their approach - I mean smart play is smart play), but how well a character can impliment those is based on the character's stats, skills, abilities, and rolls.

Yes. It is a game that requires talking and discussion skill, but it is a game... not a scored match of a debate.

They all agreed to play this game with this game system. They took their skills and abilities (seldom did I run anything with random gen). They should be using their tool for the game - their character - to interact with the game world. If you have character without social skills, then you might need to find solutions that don't need social skills/ solutions; just like you have a character without combat skills, you might need to find solutions that don't need combat. (To quote Dr. Who, "Basically, run!")

Stick to the game. Use the rules. Play the character with the approaches you like to use. Apply all your cunning and tactics to your character and use them to their fullest.

Post Script
My mystery fan/ amateur writer had the style points to take the deduction rolls at significant pluses (and some of the associated skills) to allow her to use her own abilities. (9 Points for all her HERO characters. ) She realized that if she wanted to use her players edge more actively, it was only fair that her character had that edge. She understood. Plus it made more sense for things to just come out the character's mouth.
 
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