Odd as this may seem, not everyone is you.Exactly. Who even argues with that? I've literally never come across a player aged over 14 who tried to argue this (not that I'm accusing those who do, if they exist, of being juvenile - I've just never seen it). Players reminding me of penalties they imposed or situational AC bonuses or so on, and asking "Is that still a hit?" sure, but that's fine and expected, but I've never come across the situation Lizard talks about where I have to give a bonus-by-bonus breakdown on how the enemy came to hit the PC. I mean, that's kind of mind-boggling, to me.
In a good system, it should be an optional level of detail for those who want it, applicable to whatever degree you want it. If you want to save this level of detail for boss NPCs, cool. If you want to stat out the barkeep to some ridiculous level, also cool. If you want to skip the statting and just know "The numbers for this kind of creature should be in this range", also cool.I'd agree with Lizard here. There's something that digs into my brain about "this character has these stats for these specific reasons and because that he's a really tough bastard" that "here's a really touch bastard so let's make up some tough stats for him" doesn't do. I'm just not sure it's worth the extra complication that it requires when stating up stuff.
Interesting. The first example sounds like a significant potential waste of effort given that they were a plot device, but perhaps you enjoyed doing it, which makes it less of a waste and more of an unusual hobby. The return is disproportionately tiny compared to the amount of effort involved, so only enjoyment of the process can justify the effort. The justification you offer at the end - establishing a baseline and so on makes sense, but doesn't speak to the need for a precise simulationist system for doing so, nor to player buy-in. It could also have been done as needed, not at the original time, because it might never have happened (if you were reasonably sure it would, then I guess it's just preparedness, but as discussed, doesn't speak to buy-in as I understand it).In my GURPS game, I had an alien from an advanced species who has assorted near-godlike powers. In terms of how likely it is the PCs could harm him in any way, he really doesn't need stats. Nonetheless, I took time to work out the subdermal armor he had implanted, the TL 12 force field he kept on, exactly how powerful his psi was and his skill level with it, etc, etc, etc. He was effectively a plot device and rolling for any interaction that was against his will would be an exercise in futility, but I felt obliged to actually define what his limits were, even if they were beyond the reach of the PCs. (For one thing, if he ever helps the PCs against a similarly powerful entity, I will need to know exactly how evenly-matched they are. For another, as the game enters a phase where the PCs are discovering this lost race's secrets, establishing what a baseline, Joe Average citizen of an inter-dimensional consortium that spanned a hundred billion alternate worlds was capable of seemed like a useful thing.)
In another case, I had them encounter an NPC who had stolen someone's body and brain and done a really poor job of it. I wanted them to wonder if he was just mad from being isolated for years in an abandoned mall, or if he was.... something else. As they questioned him, I rolled his Knowledge (Person Whose Brain I Ate) skill. On a roll of 11-, he was able to give a coherent answer; otherwise, he answered strangely or inconsistently. Certainly, this is something I can and do roleplay all the time, but adding in the dice made it more fun for me... I didn't know, which each sentence of the conversation, if the lie would hold up or not. (Naturally, these conversations were entirely roleplayed out, in character, on all sides; the dice just told me how to roleplay the NPC from moment to moment. If I'd had to decide how each response was to go, it would have been much less random (thus less insane seeming), and I'd have been inclined to give answers based on what I wanted the players to know/hear. This way was more fun, and I got to spend my creative energy on improvising the entire life of an NPC I'd only sketched out, as the PCs asked questions I'd never even considered, like his military service or who won the Corn Fair in 1981.) It also let me establish a mechanic for modeling how well a *competent* brain eater does it, so they might have a skill of 18-, and only roll occasionally, if there's negative modifiers to justify it.
It creates long-term consistency in many ways (which improves the feeling that the world is "real"), and gives me something to fall back on in case, as they usually do, players try something totally unexpected. Nothing I could *think* of that the players had on hand could get through DR 100 (Hardened, Cosmic)... but such things DO exist in the game universe (this is personal armor, after all, not military-grade defenses for TL 12), and I prefer knowing exactly how tough it is to "Whatever, he can't be hurt, even with the nuke you found." Likewise, while none of the PCs have psi abilities, they might get them, and that gives them more chance to resist (not much more, mind you). Further, I could establish exact ranges, areas of effects, etc, so I could work out what he might be able to do off-screen and have it be consistent with demonstrated on-screen abilities. Maybe it's "wasted effort", but it's my time to waste, eh?Interesting. The first example sounds like a significant potential waste of effort given that they were a plot device, but perhaps you enjoyed doing it, which makes it less of a waste and more of an unusual hobby. The return is disproportionately tiny compared to the amount of effort involved, so only enjoyment of the process can justify the effort. The justification you offer at the end - establishing a baseline and so on makes sense, but doesn't speak to the need for a precise simulationist system for doing so, nor to player buy-in. It could also have been done as needed, not at the original time, because it might never have happened (if you were reasonably sure it would, then I guess it's just preparedness, but as discussed, doesn't speak to buy-in as I understand it).
I think it increases player confidence that I'm not simply stonewalling or railroading if I make it clear that everything that is done in-game is done according to mechanics that define the bounds and limits (even if those bounds are above the PCs expected capacity to affect), and that means they can try to come up with a way, using the same mechanics, to affect it -- they don't need to pixelbitch to find the magic key, or, even if there IS a magic key, if they're clever enough to find some other way through the door, based on the rules I used to build the door, I won't stop them.I mean, snark aside, I know I'm not you, but I was focused on the "increased player buy-in" bit, but you've not really explained that bit as I understand it.
"I don't want to know in character, I want to know out of character because that was badass and I want it for my next level-up which is coming soon."It doesn't always work with numeric bonuses, but my stock response when the players query how an NPC has just done something contrary to how they perceive the game to work:
"Yep. Sure was strange. How are you going to find out in character how he/she did it?"