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Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

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Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby EltanimRas » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:32 am

Jeshin wrote:While I would agree from a purely game play aspect that a skill or perhaps more mainstream stat might be good. I would want to point out that in Tolkien presence is a rather crucial stat in heroic deeds. It's what allows the goodly folk to be inspired by their nobles and captains and face the unspeakable evils of the Necromancer and Mirkwood.

So from a purely RP standpoint I think presence is the best choice.

PS - Not just anyone should be able to do it, it should take someone who is codedly brave or inspiring. Let us not forget if you have a weak presence you shouldn't be RPing like you have a much higher one!


I wrote:On the other hand, so long as presence doesn't show on 'score', we're all guessing to some extent.

[And all the mental stats are (from an RP standpoint, if not a coded one) open to a certain amount of interpretation.]


Rivean wrote:I'm also fairly certain that presently presence is unupgradeable - which is a problem if you're going to use it for important things like this.

On the other note about stats vs. RP, I think this is a derail that deserves its own thread (and I encourage anybody who disagrees with what I'm about to say to quote Jeshin and myself and start a new thread) but I think that it is very important NOT to mix RP with stats - stats exist for game balance. They are a part of how the mechanical code makes the PC fair.

But there is simply no realistic reason why my PC cannot be extremely (or extremely poorly) intelligent, willful, agile, and a good leader. But this is codedly impossible because of the way stat distribution is structured. In my opinion, the mechanic and balance limitations should be used for what they were intended to be used for - game balance. And not to impose unnatural limitations on PC concepts. I'm not going to play my PC as an idiot because the character generator decided to give me more strength at the expense of intelligence.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby EltanimRas » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:43 am

Rivean wrote:I'm not going to play my PC as an idiot because the character generator decided to give me more strength at the expense of intelligence.

Here's what I mean by 'open to interpretation': No, you don't have to play your PC as an idiot. ... But you can't play him as a fast learner, because he isn't.

Maybe that's because he's an idiot. Maybe it's because he's bright, but has to understand something in-depth before he's ready to apply his knowledge in any practical way. That's the part that's up to you to decide.

Similarly, you're free to write up a burly desc for a low-strength PC, but you can't RP him carrying virtual stuff the code wouldn't let him carry if it were 'real'. What you can do is hand-wave his appearance, blame an old back injury, etc.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:04 am

I don't disagree with that. I'm not suggesting that we should be able to RPly bypass coded limits (particularly on physical traits like strength).

My concern is not about coded limits but about how stats affect the PERSONALITIES - the mental traits, essentially - of PCs. As you say, one can always make excuses for why one is codedly failing something (and again, I'm not at all endorsing the idea that one should just RP doing something one shouldn't be able to, bad bad bad) but I am not at all a fan of the idea that one should temper one's PC concept and personality based on stat rolls. There are several reasons why this is not feasible:

1) All PCs, in the total number of stat points available to them, are the same (or round about). This is not true in real life with real people, some of whom genuinely are above or below the curve. By adhering strictly to a stat based interpretation of personality, we're narrowing the field in unnatural and unrealistic ways. There are polyglots and Einsteins in the real world. There are also people with abnormally low IQ and no great physical traits to compensate. Dolph Lundegren (the giant Russian guy from Rocky IV) has an IQ above 160.

2) PC concepts are made before stat rolls come out, which - considering the current unpredictableness of the generator, whereby people are frequently complaining of getting stats in the wrong order of what they set - means that you must either adjust your PC concept post roll, or be broken.

3) Since stats are, and always have been, primarily about code and mechanical balance, you will find that if you link personality traits to coded stats then certain PERSONALITIES will always be linked with certain professions. Whereby, for example, soldiers are almost invariably stupider than tailors. If I made any such claim IRL, I would be hanged.

4) Continuing from above - if I were to make a very effective fighter PC, my primary stats ought to be strength, con, and willpower. I know the other stats play a role, but these are the really important ones. It follows then that I CANNOT codedly create a very intelligent fellow (personality) who is ALSO a top quality soldier (role). When the most efficient IG execution of certain roles (soldier/crafter/hunter) preclude certain personality types, this is a problem.

Having thought about it though, I must concede that my only major concern here is the INT stat, and to a much lesser extent WIL and PRE, and perhaps I am somewhat intelligence obsessed since I consider it to be a significant part of my own personality. Now, we can find ways around this, as mentioned earlier, we can also interpret intelligence to mean whatever we want it to so that it makes the persona and the stats become more aligned. But these are work arounds, and don't really address the underlying problem of mechanics =\= RP.

Also, I think coded 'Presence' is a horrible idea. No amount of code will make an uninspiring PC leader an inspiring one, and I'm going to be really resentful if I'm told by some OOC method that I must find Joe Leader inspiring because he's got peak presence.

In closing, my suggestions are this: Enforce strict adherence to stat rolls on physical traits (call me a snob, but I don't think anyone's strength or agility, much less their dexterity, is an integral part of their personhood in the same way as their intellect is), but leave social, interpersonal things like intelligence and presence (and to a lesser extent, willpower) to the player's discretion, within some common sense limits.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby EltanimRas » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:06 am

Rivean wrote:My concern is not about coded limits but about how stats affect the PERSONALITIES - the mental traits, essentially - of PCs.

Just like physical abilities, personality traits can confer in-game advantages that may be subject to balancing.

Rivean wrote:1) All PCs, in the total number of stat points available to them, are the same (or round about). This is not true in real life with real people, some of whom genuinely are above or below the curve. By adhering strictly to a stat based interpretation of personality, we're narrowing the field in unnatural and unrealistic ways.

Yes, there is a perspective from which realism is being sacrificed in the name of fairness here. That said, think of it like your skill point pool -- your character can have all kinds of personality traits, but he can't be simultaneously be brave, and inspiring, and clever, and determined, and hard-working, and ...

The game -- like many roleplaying systems before and after it (cf. GURPS) -- requires that you balance advantages and disadvantages. Of course, if you want to RP some stats as lower than they've rolled -- or even ask admins to lower them for you -- I don't think anybody's going to object.

Rivean wrote:2) PC concepts are made before stat rolls come out, which - considering the current unpredictableness of the generator, whereby people are frequently complaining of getting stats in the wrong order of what they set - means that you must either adjust your PC concept post roll, or be broken.

I'd be the last person to deny that the stat prioritization system has a learning curve, but it's not that bad, especially when combined with judicious use of the upgrade command.

Rivean wrote:3) Since stats are, and always have been, primarily about code and mechanical balance, you will find that if you link personality traits to coded stats then certain PERSONALITIES will always be linked with certain professions. Whereby, for example, soldiers are almost invariably stupider than tailors. If I made any such claim IRL, I would be hanged.

That's because you live in Pakistan.

More seriously, yes, RPG characters are, on average, better suited to their chosen careers than RL people. But I suspect there's more variety in the soldier concepts players roll than one might think.

Rivean wrote:4) Continuing from above - if I were to make a very effective fighter PC, my primary stats ought to be strength, con, and willpower. I know the other stats play a role, but these are the really important ones. It follows then that I CANNOT codedly create a very intelligent fellow (personality) who is ALSO a top quality soldier (role). When certain the most efficient IG execution of certain roles (soldier/crafter/hunter) preclude certain personality types, this is a problem.

Every stat has some role to play in soldiering. Most PCs don't have max skills -- on average, a PC who's a fast learner (and/or perceptive) will have higher skills than one who isn't. You can't make a PC with equal [and high!] aptitude for learning combat techniques, hitting things really hard, dodging out of the way, standing his ground in front of terrible monsters, and soaking up damage. Ultimately, the limitations do more to encourage variety than to discourage it.

And if they don't, they can -- and probably should -- be tweaked.

Rivean wrote:Now, we can find ways around this, as mentioned earlier, we can also interpret intelligence to mean whatever we want it to so that it makes the persona and the stats become more aligned.

I think you're reading too much into the names of the stats. The only thing they really 'mean' is the coded effects they have, with a handful of possible exceptions.

Take willpower, for example. As a general rule, using willpower as a dump stat and then RPing your PC as immune to torture isn't really a cool thing to do. It isn't fair to the players who gave up strength or constitution or int to justify their characters' ability to resist. This is a situation that, while it isn't directly coded, is a very natural analogue of the role of willpower as a combat stat.

(That said, I wouldn't at all mind seeing some low-willpower concepts more vulnerable to greed, lust, or other temptations -- I recall at least one alcoholic who met a bad end in SoI2 -- than to simple intimidation.)

Rivean wrote:Also, I think coded 'Presence' is a horrible idea. No amount of code will make an uninspiring PC leader an inspiring one, and I'm going to be really resentful if I'm told by some OOC method that I must find Joe Leader inspiring because he's got peak presence.

You can make your PCs as cynical and demanding as you want, RP-wise. The presence code isn't going to tell you what your character thinks of the content of a speech.

Once you've already ICly decided to accept a character in a leadership role, via the follow command, it's going to make your PC have an easier time catching his orders to retreat or attempts to rescue you in the heat and confusion of battle. It's going to make NPC merchants and animals more responsive to him. It may give the music he makes a more stirring quality, which your PC can recognize without being swayed by -- you've listened to plenty of charismatic preachers you disagreed vehemently with, haven't you? They didn't change your mind, but you recognized their stats. :P

By the same token, if you want to let someone roll vs. haggle in a negotiation with your PC, you can, but no one's going to force you to.

Rivean wrote:In closing, my suggestions are this: Enforce strict adherence to stat rolls on physical traits (call me a snob, but I don't think anyone's strength or agility, much less their dexterity, is an integral part of their personhood in the same way as their intellect is), but leave social, interpersonal things like intelligence and presence (and to a lesser extent, willpower) to the player's discretion, within some common sense limits.

Err ... wouldn't the only conceivable way to accomplish this be to rip out all code referring to the mental stats, re-write it in purely physical terms, and have everyone re-roll their PCs?

Also, are we taking bets on how many inspiring, determined geniuses we'd see if this happened?
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby hobbitboots » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:28 am

Trying to decide what roleplay is appropriate given level x in stat y is just a big can of worms. Feel free to impose whatever restrictions on yourself based on your own interpretation of your stats, but you're never going to get others to fall in line.

I advocate the KISS principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid) on this issue. The intersection between roleplay and stats is where ever the code provides an arbitration on who can succeed at some task. That's all there is to it.

Strength is easy. Strong people will be seen carrying around more stuff because they can do so without suffering coded penalties. They will also hit harder in combat, which people will notice.

Intelligence is tricky because people have lots of ideas about what being smart means and not all of them are coded, nor could they ever be. If you have a high intelligence, then you are a fast learner, you can have a wide breath of practical knowledge, and in certain fields you will do better than most. I see no reason why you couldn't have a low intelligence philosopher because philosophy is completely uncoded!

Presence is even trickier because we've sort of been told what it does, but if it has any coded effects right now, they are very hard to see. Presumably, when music gets developed we will see that people with high presence will sing memorable songs and tell memorable tales. We need some coded effects to go with the stat in order to understand what it means.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:40 am

So, Eltanimras and I argued about this for an hour offline and saved you guys the trouble of having to figure it out. We concluded in the end that the best way to deal with the issue is to have two pools of stats, one for physical traits, and one for personality traits, thereby keeping both game balance AND allowing different personality types to match up to different skill sets without conflict.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby EltanimRas » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:42 am

hobbitboots wrote:Intelligence is tricky because people have lots of ideas about what being smart means and not all of them are coded, nor could they ever be.

I don't disagree.

I only hope that most players' choices in roleplaying their characters' intelligence will reflect some idea about what being smart/perceptive/etc. is. And, hopefully, that said idea will be reasonably (not necessarily perfectly!) compatible with the coded effects of the stat.

[ETA: Speaking of perception, by the way, I think a case could be made for a low int character whose only real issue was [literal] myopia.]
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby Throttle » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:53 am

I'm violently against the notion that stats should determine a character's personality and behaviour. Under no circumstances must a stat ever be expected to determine, say, how brave your character is allowed to be. This is doubly true when that stat is mutually exclusive with the things that might otherwise be the hallmark of a brave person, i.e. physical power and combat skills.

Stats are for game balance and character diversity. People aren't generally going to do weird shit like describe a character as huge and muscular only to select a low strength priority in chargen, so that part is no real concern. However, if we start to get into that murky territory of mandating that you mustn't let your character be heroic unless you put presence first, and in turn sacrifice a huge chunk of your character's coded power, then it's not only completely counterintuitive and unrealistic but also horrible for player satisfaction and character design freedom.

I'm not generally a fan of the presence stat, or any other intangible charisma derivative. I think it's something that should be determined by the player and the character concept. However, if it must be there, it should be used for the sorts of things that have been announced as its purpose: music, animal handling, etc.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby hobbitboots » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:55 am

I'm going to roll versus int here and conclude that the idea of having two pools of points instead of just one big pool are mathematically equivalent except that you are no longer letting people create pure mental/physical creatures. :ugeek:

Assuming all characters still sum to roughly the same number, which I think is a safe assumption.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:59 am

hobbitboots wrote:I'm going to roll versus int here and conclude that the idea of having two pools of points instead of just one big pool are mathematically equivalent...


No, the idea being that we're dividing into two stat groups - one that affects your skill and combat performance. The other reflects personality. The word 'physical' might have been misleading.

ETA: The idea being that any sort of personality/character should be able to make a viable fit for any sort of role (fighter/tank/scout/tailor/cook) etc.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby hobbitboots » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:08 pm

Are the 'personality' stats still int, wil, aur?

If so, I still fail to see how the final combined distributions will be any different than what we see now on our score sheets except under the propsed two pool system, we are required to assign a base amount to each physical/mental pool. So we can't dump one or the other anymore. Please explain?

If not, I have no friggen clue what you have in mind. :D

Also, just spitballing here, but on the topic of what kind of coded presence effects could support the idea that it represents inspirational leadership...

Make a rally skill that only the leader of a group can use. If it succeeds, then the group gets some temporary bonuses to things like willpower and strength. Voila, high presence characters are now natural choices for leadership.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby tehkory » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:29 pm

*pops his head in*
Presence is a silly and useless stat that should've just been folded into willpower.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby Troubadour » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:57 pm

hobbitboots wrote:
Make a rally skill that only the leader of a group can use. If it succeeds, then the group gets some temporary bonuses to things like willpower and strength. Viola, high presence characters are now natural choices for leadership.



Actually, my belief is that this should be a skill only given if the player can provide the necessary RP for it to be believable (eloquent speech, feats of bravery, possessing high morals (or lack-of if on the opposite side of 'good') etc). It shouldn't be handed out to just anyone and it needs the back-up of justifiable role-play to be believable. Not all group leaders can rally their troops. Most just lead them to their terrified deaths or are barely able to get them into combat without them many of them turning tail or going AWOL. And there should be checks and balances even in a group of combatants that not everyone in a group is going to have the chance to gain bonuses. I also think there should be a possible downside for rallying, say like the leader takes a hit to their own skills for the good of the group. It would give reason for the leader to question to use or not use the benefits of rally. Balance.


editted And not only do I believe this just for something like 'rally', but I do think staff should consider this for any skills/crafts etc present now or in the idea stage that if it provides a bonus or some advantage to a character or group then let there be some downside so that a character has to question the benefit of its use.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby EltanimRas » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:06 pm

hobbitboots wrote:Are the 'personality' stats still int, wil, aur?

The personality stats [in this completely hypothetical system] aren't tied to any skills at all. They might include something called intelligence, but it'd be intelligence in the everyday sense of the word, not in the SoI-specific 'makes you better at tailoring but not so much at woodcrafting' sense.

Skills that currently depend on a stat with personality implications would have to have that stat either removed or else renamed to some pared down, non-personality-affecting version.

There wouldn't be any coded benefit to making brave soldiers and smart tailors -- on a code level, every personality would be equally viable for every skillset.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:56 pm

EltanimRas wrote:[in this completely hypothetical system]


Let me stop and reiterate for a moment that all of this is academic discussion about game design and admins should not take anything said here as either suggestion or criticism :P
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:59 pm

EltanimRas wrote:There wouldn't be any coded benefit to making brave soldiers and smart tailors -- on a code level, every personality would be equally viable for every skillset.


So why have personality stats to begin with? So that it actually occurs to people to stop and think about what their PCs are like. Also, I personally really like the idea of an unlimited pool personality stat points, but after you've spent more than X, the character generator asks you if you REALLY want to play a Mary Sue.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby EltanimRas » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:01 pm

Rivean wrote:Also, I personally really like the idea of an unlimited pool personality stat points, but after you've spent more than X, the character generator asks you if you REALLY want to play a Mary Sue.

In response to which I suggested such characters receive a (Mary Sue) tag, kind of like the (new player) one we used to have.

Since this seems impractical, I prefer a cap on the personality point pool. :P
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:03 pm

No, no. I feel that people should be able to make awful Mary Sue characters if they feel like it. Just the game's asking them if they're sure will probably significantly increase the prevalence of more well rounded PCs.

Plus all the newbies want Mary Sues.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby hobbitboots » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:19 pm

Troubadour wrote:Actually, my belief is that this should be a skill only given if the player can provide the necessary RP for it to be believable (eloquent speech, feats of bravery, possessing high morals (or lack-of if on the opposite side of 'good') etc). It shouldn't be handed out to just anyone and it needs the back-up of justifiable role-play to be believable.


Just curious, but what are your thoughts on the proposed music system? I've actually had similarly motivated misgivings about it. Namely, people rolling high presence minstrels when the player just copy/pastes Bob Dylan songs...

That said, I am really looking forward to the music system. :D

Edit: Also, just to comment some more on the hypothetical never-gonna-happen system... :lol:

If the personality points are unlimited, then you sure as hell can't let them affect any practical skills. I'm not sure I even want to get started on all the reasons why that's a bad idea!

As a counter idea, why not just make it be a required part of character creation that the player writes a short segment about their character's personality? Seems like a much more elegant solution to the "Did they even think about their personality yet?" issue. Especially in the context of unlimited points and Mary-Sues galore.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby EltanimRas » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:24 pm

hobbitboots wrote:Namely, people rolling high presence minstrels when the player just copy/pastes Bob Dylan songs...

Don't worry; spiders will eat anyone who tries that.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby Troubadour » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:48 pm

hobbitboots wrote:
Just curious, but what are your thoughts on the proposed music system?

That said, I am really looking forward to the music system. :D


Could you direct me to info on the music system? I would really like to find out more about it.

I love music/storytelling in RP. But again, it's one of those things you either have a talent for or don't. Practice will make you better but those that have the natural knack for it will excel. It's a tough call as a coded system, but I think I'll maintain my thoughts that if a skill or craft would be introduced in combat related bonuses, there needs RP to back having it and something taken from them to balance. Mind you, I wouldn't want to see anything so bad that a character would be completely crippled, but there should be risk with the reward.

Personally, from an RP stand-point, I like having characters that have certain stories or songs in their repertoire depending on where they've been, what they've seen or who've they met. However, it does take a lot of work to create them.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby Troubadour » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:50 pm

EltanimRas wrote:
hobbitboots wrote:Namely, people rolling high presence minstrels when the player just copy/pastes Bob Dylan songs...

Don't worry; spiders will eat anyone who tries that.



I laughed, thanks. :D
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby likui » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:58 pm

hobbitboots wrote:Namely, people rolling high presence minstrels when the player just copy/pastes Bob Dylan songs...



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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby hobbitboots » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:11 pm

Troubadour wrote:
Could you direct me to info on the music system? I would really like to find out more about it.



There's not much, I don't think. The main teaser was given here:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=311

And there's a related teaser on presence that mentions music here:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=396

Note that those posts are getting VERY old by now. There are more little tidbits scattered around the forums, but I don't think there is a master thread to find out all about it.

I love music/storytelling in RP. But again, it's one of those things you either have a talent for or don't. Practice will make you better but those that have the natural knack for it will excel. It's a tough call as a coded system, but I think I'll maintain my thoughts that if a skill or craft would be introduced in combat related bonuses, there needs RP to back having it and something taken from them to balance. Mind you, I wouldn't want to see anything so bad that a character would be completely crippled, but there should be risk with the reward.

Personally, from an RP stand-point, I like having characters that have certain stories or songs in their repertoire depending on where they've been, what they've seen or who've they met. However, it does take a lot of work to create them.


I think we see eye-to-eye on this, but I would add on the topic of having something taken as a balance against a strong skill like rally would be... well, the balance is in having to pick presence as a primary stat! I think currently most combat characters are dumping it in favor of more physical advantages, but I think it's a very Tolkien idea that people could be stronger than they look. It could possibly be coded via presence if staff wanted to go that route.
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Re: Stats vs. RP (split from Nests and Crafts)

Postby Troubadour » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:50 pm

Thanks for the links

Going to mull over this a bit, and while there isn't much, Rescue and Retreat got me wondering about how Presence could have some benefits as a primary stat, possibly for mostly non-combatant types that would give reason for them to participate in combat events.
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