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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Michael Sayre wrote:

The former (it is a fey after all). It likes to find planets that are technologically advanced enough to detect it coming so they can get really worked up about it, but without advanced enough space travel tech to do anything about it. Like, Earth would be a primo target for a gwahled.

For a light snack it can also swallow a starship whole and feast on the terror of the trapped crew.

Yeah, this was one of the more odd-ball but awesome entries in the book, for sure. I hope you won't be too upset to hear that I immediately decided that if I run one, it will hurtle towards the target planet shouting "Show me what you got!"


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GM Suede wrote:
With all of the above, The Jet Dash Feat lets you jump twice as high and far as normal. So they might be doubling their result instead of just how far they can go (Works the same either way for distance/height but would technically be wrong if there's just a set check in the scenario for something).

You can also pair that with an augmentation that lets you make your personal gravity "low" once per day, for two rounds (the better versions are way out of level range, IIRC). Alternately, a Copaxi with the ability to always be a low grav gives a nice boost to jump distances as well.


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Nefreet wrote:

Reading is an interpretive activity.

While we can certainly read the same text and come to two entirely different conclusions, which one sounds more reasonable to you?

I'm glad you asked! The interpretation that sounds reasonable to me is the one that follows the logic of the real world as well as the internal logic of the fictional setting as well - IE the one in which things that are observably true in the real world (IE it's not actually that hard to fly, certainly not compared to something as difficult to do as walking) and we can see in the intent of the game world (IE that Barathu aren't completely unable to make engineering checks or computer checks while in their native environment, since they would just fall through the atmosphere and die).

But see, I've been told repeatedly that that is unreasonable - that's not how we do things, right? We should expect players to abandon those expectations and instead DO WHAT THE RULES SAY - Indeed, it seems to be the express stance by many that the concern that there is a massive disconnect between what someone who only knows the real world and/or the art/fiction of the game might reasonably expect and what the rules actually enforce is completely nonsense, as is the concern that said disconnect might cause a bad play experience.

So, yeah, I actually agree with you - the fly rules, as they are written, are dumb, and unreasonable. Which is why we should not be arguing that it is a good idea to use them as they are.


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Xenocrat wrote:


Thanks, this was sufficiently clueless and ignorant of the relevant issues to tell me what I need to know. I appreciate it.

Oh? Interesting. I was under the impression that fundamentally human walking was a complex system that essentially requires pulling the center of mass forward, out of balance, and then dynamically re-establishing balance through a combination of free swinging pendulum motion as well as muscle power, and that its a complex enough problem that bipedal human-like walking is something that is currently extraordinarily difficult to replicate. Indeed, as of the state of the literature in like 2017 I recall it being argued that nobody had yet been able to build a robot that could truly be called a successful human-style walker (let alone running). If you know otherwise, please, what resources would you suggest? A lot of my understanding is admittedly quite old, since it started from this paper (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1129077/), so I would love to see any updated resources you have.

In the meantime, if the question is "how hard is it to walk like a human" vs "how hard is it to fly with absurd agility and stability", it seems pretty convincing to me that I can buy a flying drone with the agility of a particularly skilled hummingbird for like $100 on Amazon, whereas getting a robot that can walk like a human would take something like 3 TED talks and a DARPA grant.


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HammerJack wrote:

Could you please cite the rule you're referring to that would indicate that you can't make more than one 45 degree turn? I do not see any such rule in the Acrobatics skill, or the Flying rules on page 259.

I only see the following, which does not indicate any limit on number of turns, only a movement cost:
"If you want to change direction while flying, it costs you an additional 5 feet of movement to turn 45 degrees. If you want to ascend, it costs you an additional 5 feet of movement for each square that you move upward. For example, suppose you have a fly speed of 60 feet. As a single move action, you can fly forward 20 feet, turn 45 degrees to the left, and fly one square diagonally (all of which costs 30 feet of your movement). You can then ascend 15 feet, which costs another 30 feet of movement. At this point, you have used your full 60 feet of flying movement, so your move action is over. "

Can you please site the section in there where it says you can make more than one turn? As many of the people in this very thread have argued in the past, Starfinder is a permissive rules set, not a restrictive one. If the rules don't say you can do something, you can't. Currently the rules do not actually say you can make more than one turn. You may assume that you should be able to turn more often, but grammatically that is not actually what the rules say.

I mean, why is it reasonable to assume you should be able to actually turn? I've never seen a rocket or an airplane turn that sharply before! Why should you get all the advantages of flying AND be able to turn as sharply as someone who is walking?!


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Xenocrat wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
I also think a big problem here is that people have some major misconceptions about how flight and flying works in the real world. For example, it's not "harder" in a mental sense to fly than it is to walk. Indeed, it's actually quite the opposite - it's much trickier to balance while walking on two legs than it is to stabilize as a flier.
How easy is it to hover in place while throwing as many punches as possible at someone. I value your personal experience on this.

Depends - for a human, with human physiology and evolved for walking? Pretty hard, which is why Force Soles should basically not work at all, let alone not let you easily full attack from the air. For something that is designed/evolved for flight, pretty easy, especially if they are something like an auto-stabilizing quad rotor system, or are neutrally buoyant.

Again, if FEELS like walking is easy to most of us because we are used to it. Ask someone who builds bipedal robots how easy it actually is to make a robot that can walk down the stairs, though. Then ask someone who builds quad drones how easy it is to make a drone that can quickly right itself automatically, and can slide sideways without changing facing, etc.


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Ascalaphus wrote:

I was curious to see how true the claim is that flying doesn't offer such a big advantage in Starfinder as it does in Pathfinder. First I went through Alien Archive just counting monsters that have a ranged attack or flight capability, vs. the ones that can't hurt you if you're flying and they're stuck on the ground. Overwhelmingly, monsters have options against airborne opponents.

But then the question is: are these plausible ranged options? So I went counting whether (A) the monster's strongest attack is ranged or it can fly, or (B) it either can't attack airborne opponents, or its attack against them is notably worse than in ground melee.

Just going up through the monsters A-I, the balance is that against 14 out of 34 monsters, flying gives you a benefit. So while flight doesn't win fights against most monsters, it does give a benefit in about 40% of the fights.

That's questionable, actually - first, it's only a benefit AT ALL in a situation where the flyer would have been the target of the melee attack, but couldn't be. Second, even in those situations, I don't think that on balance the disadvantages of being in the air (unable to full attack or do an attack/standard action or make engineering/computer skill checks, unable to be in cover) are overcome by the advantage of "can only be attacked by a maybe less optimal attack"


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Nefreet wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:

Imagine a situation where you wanted to send a hover drone through a narrow vent. It's not super-cramped - it's small enough that a small creature would have to squeeze and a medium creature probably just wouldn't fit, but it's not so small that the hover drone would really be restricted in its movement.

It's also not a very long vent (say 10 feet, so a squeezing small creature would plausibly pass through in a single round), but it has two 90 degree turns in it. How long does it take for the hover drone to actually make that trip? The answer is a minimum of three rounds, because it would have to enter the vent, get to the 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, on the next round travel to the next 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, and then finally it could leave. If you haven't been playing drone movement like that, then you are on my side, because you recognize that the rules as written simply don't work and don't make sense.

Pathfinder had the rule about 90° turns. In Starfinder, it's in increments of 45°.

So for a 10 ft vent with two 90° turns, it takes 30 ft of movement to travass (a single move action for Scout).

Incorrect, and exactly makes my point about how the rules are unworkable. The rules say you have to choose a primary direction for the round, and you can at most turn 45 degrees between squares. Unfortunately, this means that you would have to make that 45 degree (IE diagonal move) around a hard corner, which you cannot do. Thus, you have to go to the end of the first straight stretch, and you are stuck there. You can't even use a second move to change direction, because again, the limitation is a primary direction for the entire round. There is absolutely no way you can get through the vent in less than three turns.

Here, let me give you another example of what I'm talking about: Imagine a hovering/floating character taking cover in a doorway to shoot down a standard 5 foot wide hallway. Next turn, that character/drone/whatever wants to enter the hallway and then proceed down it. This cannot be done. If the flier declares the primary direction of travel to be "down the hallway", then it can't enter the hallway to begin with, as it could only turn 45 degrees and make a diagonal move - but you cannot make a diagonal move across a hard corner like a wall or a door frame. So, the primary direction of travel has to be out into the hallway, which gets the flyer out there, but then they can't turn far enough to actually head down the hallway.

I think you are thinking you can stack 45 degree turns in one square, but nothing in the rules indicates that is so. In fact, it's not even clear that you can turn more than 45 degrees once in a single round. This is on top of all the other obvious absurdities trying to actually use the fly rules as written brings up. I submit again that I don't think it is possible that anyone has ever actually followed the exact RAW on flying on any real Starfinder table, and I don't think anyone ever will. The fly rules are that bad.

I also think a big problem here is that people have some major misconceptions about how flight and flying works in the real world. For example, it's not "harder" in a mental sense to fly than it is to walk. Indeed, it's actually quite the opposite - it's much trickier to balance while walking on two legs than it is to stabilize as a flier. We just tend to think walking is easier because most of us are familiar with doing it, so it feels easy to us. Further, flying is not even one thing - The physics of a dragon, a helicopter, and a blimp are all totally different. Having one set of rules for all of them just doesn't work.


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Claxon wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:


Maybe we glossed past that stuff because we had Pathfinder experience and didn't catch the difference there.

That was my groups problem.

We got so used to PF rules from years of playing, that taking a swift action to hover didn't raise any alarms in our heads. So you can't swift action while flying, most of the classes don't have swift action abilities. Doesn't come up too much, just watch for certain other abilities.

Until you learn that full actions require the use of your swift.

That was really the big change that we needed to learn and pay attention to.

This is an exact example of what I'm talking about - the reason your group didn't catch on probably had a lot more to do with the fact that it just didn't feel "wrong" or "overpowered" or "unreasonable" to play it the way you were playing. Because (and this is really really important for everyone to understand) we generally will go from our real life experiences to what we imagine in the game world, and then expect the rules to support that. Where we will stop and really examine the rules is when the game rules seem to spit out an unreasonable outcome, or when they fail to conform to our expectations of what should reasonably be possible.

In other words, when you incorrectly let any flying player make a 90 degree turn in one single round, or let the mechanic's repair-bot flavored hover drone actually do an engineering check while hovering, or when you didn't require the Barathu envoy to stop floating so it could concentrate on talking (IE use Get 'em and Demoralize actions in the same round, or something), you weren't playing WRONG, because those are all entirely reasonable things to do. It makes no sense that a Barathu should be unable to literally float and talk.

Here's a simple test of this hypothesis about how people would form expectations about the game world. Take any number of random people. Show them a picture of the Iconic hover drone. Then just ask "Would this be more effective at shooting if it was flying, or if it were landed?". I think we know where that is going to end up. In fact, I would be willing to bet that in many cases people's response would be "Can that even actually land at all?".

Here's another test: Imagine a situation where you wanted to send a hover drone through a narrow vent. It's not super-cramped - it's small enough that a small creature would have to squeeze and a medium creature probably just wouldn't fit, but it's not so small that the hover drone would really be restricted in its movement.
It's also not a very long vent (say 10 feet, so a squeezing small creature would plausibly pass through in a single round), but it has two 90 degree turns in it. How long does it take for the hover drone to actually make that trip? The answer is a minimum of three rounds, because it would have to enter the vent, get to the 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, on the next round travel to the next 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, and then finally it could leave. If you haven't been playing drone movement like that, then you are on my side, because you recognize that the rules as written simply don't work and don't make sense.

Those who are saying that it is unreasonable to expect otherwise are quite literally inverting how humans understand and process information. Especially for new players, they are not going to say "okay, let me read all the rules and understand what the internal physics of this game are, then imagine the world out from there and ignore my intuitions about what should/shouldn't be possible". Nobody actually thinks that way. Instead, we look at a hover drone, and think "I bet that flies like a helicopter, or a quad-copter drone. Thus, I bet it doesn't have any trouble hovering and being a stable gun platform. Indeed, that's what attack helicopters are FOR, and I can see in the art that it has a gun on the bottom so it seems clear it's going to primarily be an aerial combat platform"

Finally, with regards to the idea that it's unfair to be able to shoot without being vulnerable to melee (AKA the "flying is OP" argument), aside from the point made above about how melee isn't actually the assumption in Starfinder, it's also important to note that denying full attacks doesn't actually fix that problem. The outcome of the fight doesn't change, at all. You still have a shooter who is out of reach and able to shoot with impunity, so the outcome is a foregone conclusion. All you've done is at best make it take longer, which honestly sounds like the antithesis of fun.

Even in a case where it's really important to finish the fight ASAP, the odds that the hover drone (which, remember only has a strength of 6, so is limited to longarms at best) would have been the thing the hypothetical melee only encounter would have focused on are very, very low. Essentially, the balance complaint is that it's not fair to have a flier avoid melee attacks that likely weren't going to be directed at it anyway. I'm not buying it.

The nail in the coffin though is the assertion that you should just spring for the Mk 2 Force soles. That just makes the absurdity clear - far from being a more "limited" form of flight (which is what I think some people mistakenly think), they are objectively better on every axis than the Barathu's native fly speed of 30, for example. So, it cannot be that the issue is that being able to full attack or make engineering checks or use both a standard action attack and a move action class ability or make a 90 degree turn in one round while also being in the air is OP.

Now, you can say "Well, but it's a level thing. That's an 8th level item, so you can't really plausibly get it until around 6th level at the earliest...". Sure - when does a drone get the ability to really plausibly use the full attack action in an efficient way? 7TH, when they get the Expert AI ability so can make a full attack without direct control.

And, of course, the poor Barathu is left out in the cold. Imagine the player who, after struggling through 6 or 7 levels of putting up with cumbersome fly limitations and awkward, absurdly restrictive action economy nonsense, suddenly finds that everyone else in the party can suddenly just jog around in the air much more easily than he can, despite the fact that the GM insisted that it would break the game balance if aerial movement was that easy. Oh, and the Barathu can't take advantage of it, because the Barathu has a speed of 0, so unless/until the player pays off the DISADVANTAGE of being a natural born flyer by buying a high level speed suspension augmentation, Force Soles don't really do anything. Cool cool cool.

I mean, I cannot believe I feel like I have to explain this, but everyone understands why this is absurd, right? Like, try to imagine what using Force Soles would be like - imagine walking down through the air at that 45 degree angle. That would be like trying to walk down a steep set of invisible stairs with no handrails - yet somehow that's a more effective, more natural, easier and safer way to move through the air than a creature that is neutrally buoyant and evolved in an environment where land didn't even exist could ever do.


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A) It doesn't work fine. If you are going to try to go full RAW it's actually a nonstop wall to wall rules nightmare. You have to have a brand new player keep track of declaring a primary direction of travel for the drone at the start of every turn (because that's what the rules require), and then you have to do the math to calculate how much movement you lose to make a 45 degree turn to change direction or to ascend/descend. Then you have to keep very rigorous track of actions to make sure they aren't "cheating" by accidentally hovering when they should have ended up falling.

Here's how easy it is to make that mistake - Turn 1 player moves the drone into the position they want to shoot from, and then take a shot. Mechanic moves up, but can't get into position to shoot yet, so has to move next turn. Turn 2, Mechanic moves into position, shoots, and then declares the drone will use it's standard action to shoot as well. Boom. Drone has to fall because the mechanic didn't say "I land the drone" on turn 1 - and likely wouldn't have had the movement to do so anyway. So, now your brand new player using Quig is feeling "gotcha-ed" by the rules.

Even if you, as the GM, take the time to explain exactly how the rules work so that the player isn't caught out by them, do you really think the net result of that conversation would be "Oh, this seems like a cool and fun system"? I would simply not allow new players to play hover drone mechanics, full stop, if I felt it was at all important to adhere to the very strict RAW here.

B) Hover drones just can't full attack while hovering is not an acceptable answer. Nor is "Casters just have to land to cast full round spells". It doesn't match the fictional logic of the world, it is not necessary for balance, it makes gameplay slower, and simply makes characters uncool. Like, this is probably the biggest problem. Above and beyond the simple barriers to play your creating, you are full on making characters behave in a way that is nonsensical within the fiction of the world AND also makes them look frankly foolish. There is literally no redeeming feature to it except "it's what the rules say" - which merely means the rules are wrong, and need to change.

C) I've played at well north of 50 different SFS tables (probably pushing 100, in fact), both online, locally, and at local and national conventions. I have NEVER seen the flying rules enforced this strictly, which is why I'm completely unconvinced that it is a good or necessary thing to have happen. I would be willing to bet that literally no single person on the entire planet has EVER played the flying rules strictly correctly.

Heck, even the example in the book gets the rules for determining direction of travel wrong. It treats the last 30 feet of movement (the movement straight up) as if it was in the primary direction of travel (which was "forward", initially), so actually instead of being able to go 15 squares straight up, the flyer should have only been able to ascend at a 45 degree angle, which would have used up 4 squares of movement for the first square, and then 2 more for the second, ending the movement 2 squares "forward" and one square lower than the position in described in the example.

I would go so far as to say that within the actual real world of a group of players in a game (especially a game with time constraints, like SFS), it is fundamentally IMPOSSIBLE to play the rules strictly RAW. Even if you only strictly enforce the action economy limitations and discount the excessively tedious movement restrictions, because of the way it limits how a player can actually participate in the game (and no, this is not actually only about full attacks/full round spells, see D below), it's going to necessitate that players with flying characters/drones need to be extra thoughtful (IE slower).

D) What "flying utility" do hover drones actually have, though? Have you actually played out the implications of what you are advocating for there? Here's a thing you might want to try with a hover drone (using manipulator arms and the Master Control ability): Make an engineering check to disable a camera on the ceiling. Sounds good? WRONG. Disable device is least one full round action for even a "simple device", so your drone can't actually do an engineering check without falling, even if you are directly controlling it. Note that a hypothetical Barathu Mechanic ALSO couldn't do it - in fact, the only way a Barathu can use the engineering or computers skill to do anything of note is to land first, which is a patent absurdity.

Of course, you could give your drone climbing claws so it could just land an perch near the camera before - oh, no you can't. Hover drones can't take climbing claws. Hmm. The Computers skill runs into the same problem. A hover drone can't even assist a mechanic on Computer/Engineering checks generally, unless it can assist from the floor. Which... it's size tiny. Hmmm. Will your GM even allow it to reach, say, a typical control panel? Expect table variance!

Okay, well, what about being a scout? It can kinda do that, if you use the one mod slot at first level for a camera... but a stealth drone is objectively better in that role (stealthier and faster and better perception checks) AND has better firepower (since it can get into an elevated position with climbing claws, and STAY THERE without costing a move action, and it can full attack from there if needed).

So, what is the utility? Mobility? On a one to one basis the stealth drone is faster both horizontally and vertically. Hilariously, both a stealth drone or a combat drone could take the flight mods (if you are a high enough level), as well as the climb speed and swim speed mods. The Hover drone can take neither of those two options, so that's another corner-case disadvantage to the hover drone. Even the simple utility of "get in the way of that thing" isn't there for the Hover drone, since it is tiny, and thus its square can be moved through freely.

Even worse, because of the action economy issues, as a unit a mechanic and a hover drone are actually significantly LESS mobile, especially if they want to do anything productive. Having to land to cast your big spell, or take a full attack, or do your skill monkey job, or whatever, means you will be generally a round behind in your impact, relative to a walker/climber/swimmer, and that assumes the optimal case where the place you landed initially is where you need to be for the entire encounter. Every time you have to spend actions to take off to fly and then land again, you are losing another 1-2 rounds of impact on the encounter. Lord help you if you thought it would be interesting to have a Barathu Mechanic with a Hover drone. Far from being mobile, if you choose to fly, then in almost any practical situation you will be slower, less free to maneuver, and less able to contribute nearly as effectively to really whatever it is the party is trying to do, at least if you are following the actual strict RAW.

Yeah, the more I think about this, the worse and more ridiculous it gets. I just don't see how anyone wins by trying to be picky with the fly rules. It doesn't seem to make anyone's gameplay easier, more balanced, or more fun. It just throws up tons of of situations where common sense and what the rules say just don't line up at all. Here's a fun riddle for you, for example: Say you are GMing a SFS scenario where the big boss is some incorporeal energy being that ONLY has a fly speed with perfect maneuverability, and has no way to become corporeal. In its tactics box, you are told that on the first round of combat it will always activate its special ability to read the minds of all visible foes (to gauge their fears for follow on mental attacks). You note that ability is listed as a full round action. Combat starts. On its first turn, why doesn't your big bad boss take it's full action to read minds, and then fall 500 feet straight down (the max possible fall distance) towards the center of the planet? Please show your work.


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Is anybody actually playing flying this way, though, in practice? It seems like it adds a huge hassle and frankly "looks" dumb in terms of the in game world (you're going to tell a new player they have to land Quig's drone even though it's obvious from the art that it can't actually do that?).

And make no mistake, it is a major hassle. The people saying "just land" are glossing over that this (at a minimum) means you have to spend some sort of movement to land, and then some sort of movement to take off again if you want to go back to flying. In practice, the action economy ends up being something like requiring a humanoid to move into position and then go prone before ever full attacking (note that I'm not saying that a landed Barathu is literally prone in terms of things like bonuses/penalties to attacking, though I could absolutely see some GM's arguing that it should be that way).

It's an even bigger problem for spellcasters who want to cast a spell that takes a full action (or a full round) to cast, like the good version of Magic Missile, or any Summon Monster spell. See, a melee character could, in theory, just say "meh, I'll do my full attack and risk the acrobatics check as a reaction to avoid falling damage", but a caster can't do that, since taking a reaction while casting is explicitly one of the things that will cause a spell to fail. If you have the wrong kind of GM, they may even try to catch-22 you by arguing that the falling damage should also interrupt the spell (which is untrue - it's only damage from an attack that targeted your AC or was caused by a failed saving throw that interrupts a spell). In any case, it's a fairly onerous limitation to impose, and it sets up a sort of slapstick looking situation where your hapless flying caster is basically faceplanting after casting the spell.

I can't see how any of that makes the game better. It just slows down play at the table and/or makes a character look foolish, all so that... what, exactly? What is the upside? That it makes flight worse than it was in Pathfinder? Why is that a good thing? Why do we want to punish new players who naively assume that their hover drone should have no problems hovering and shooting?


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Sam Phelan wrote:

Hello MrTsFloatinghead,

It does look like the package is quite a bit outside of its estimated delivery time. I have set up a replacement for the products in your sidecart. Please let us know if the original order arrives in the meantime.

The shipping method guaranteed to provide a tracking number will be UPS. Setting this as your default may cost a bit more but will guarantee tracking information.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. Thank you!

Will do, thanks!


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This order was shipped March 12th, but never arrived. Is there a way to change my shipping options so that I always get a tracking number? I've noticed that since I moved last year packages without tracking numbers seem to have a very low success rate in reaching me.


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Hello-

I realize this is an older order, but I've been occupied and didn't realize that this package seems not to have arrived. Unfortunately there is no tracking on it, so I don't know where it might have gone wrong.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
So can you make a bullrush with entropic strike? An unarmed strike? A dagger?

Yep, as per Owen in this very thread (from Dec 6th):

"In Starfinder, combat maneuvers are just melee attacks with an effect other than damage to a target creature (though sunder still does damage). So everything that applies to melee attacks, including reach and properties of your weapons, applies to combat maneuver attack rolls."

See also this post from the Rules forum:
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2upl0?Combat-Maneuvers#4

I was building a dex-focused vanguard for society play over the past weekend, so I dug into this a bit already to make sure it would work:)


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

General question but seems more important to a vanguard

Combat manuevers are an attack. Can they be made with dex instead of strength normally? What about with entropic strike?

This was answered, actually - since combat maneuvers are a melee attack, anything that would affect that melee attack role (including the operative property on your entropic strike) would affect the combat maneuver.


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Ravingdork wrote:

I have a 5th-level character with a profession modifier of +15. By taking 10, she can guarantee getting a 25 and earn 50 credits for a weeks worth of work.

What? That seems WAY too low, considering the costs of items and services in the Core Rulebook. Some items costs hundreds of thousands of credits. Even the day to day things . And that's a pretty decent modifier at that level!

A long distance call costs 5 credits per minute. So she can work for a week, then talk to somebody in another system for all of 10 minutes!

Or she can buy 10 half-way decent outfits. Or stay in EFFICIENCY lodgings for half a month (which means half her income goes into living in the slums right from the start). By the time you factor in other things, it's no wonder she opted to become an adventurer instead.

At such a high skill modifier (for low levels anyways), it seems like it would be more believable to have her earning 50 credits per day, or even per hour. I think that would line up a little bit better with the expected conveniences of a high tech society like the Pact Worlds.

I don't actually think that's a super high modifier, actually - a 1st level character who was focusing on a specific profession could pretty easily match that - they wouldn't be as well equipped for adventuring, but if they were focusing on just getting by making a living, that makes sense.

Beyond that, though, don't think of it as "50 credits is all my character has", think of it as "After paying my bills for this week, I have 50 credits left for anything "extra" I want". Like, if your character lives on Absalom Station, then probably most of their income goes towards "rent", plus infosphere carrier charges, plus energy usage, plus air/water recycling fee, plus basic "groceries", ship docking and fueling fees, etc, and then has ~50 credits a week left after that (or 200 credits a month left, if you like). The assumptions of the game seem to be that players likely have some kind of "home" (even if it's a ship they live on), and basic access to utilities and such, and it's not unreasonable to suggest that the costs for those things are being handled in the background.


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So, I've been looking at some of the options in armory, like the shield projectors, which are clearly designed for firing at an ally, rather than an enemy, and it makes me wonder - is there a way for an ally to allow an auto-hit? I don't think there is, meaning if you want to shoot an ally with an injection weapon for some healing, or wanted to toss a shield on an ally, you would have to actually hit against their EAC or KAC, right?


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Ravingdork wrote:

Zeizerer Munitions' longframe ammo increases a weapon's ammo capacity by 20%. That increases the number of targets one can affect in a single cone.

Bipods can decrease the full attack penalty by 1 or 2.

A gunner harness can decrease the full attack penalty by another 1 or 2.

What else we got? Any class abilities that reduce full attack penalties?

Anything at all to increase that first range increment? Or keep the gun from completely emptying it's clip every time?

Gunner Harness and bipod explicitly don't stack, so it's one or the other.

Bombard Soldier can use the +Str mod to damage with an automatic weapon.

A tactical scaffold armor attachment lets you use a two handed weapon with one hand (and it does seem to stack with a gunner harness), so you could one-hand a full auto heavy weapon with a reduced to-hit penalty, which seems pretty good. If you really wanted, you could carry like two machine guns at once that way (for a character without extra arms), but still only shoot one at a time.


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Thanks!


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Order 5296062

Package 1113229 from this order was shipped July 23rd, and has yet to arrive as far as I can tell. Unfortunately there is no tracking info for that package so I'm hoping you can help me track it down.

Package 1119174 from the same order was shipped August 1st and arrived already. There was also a payment issue with the second shipment, but that happened after the shipment of the first package, and was resolved the same day, so shouldn't have affected anything as far as I can tell.


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Metaphysician wrote:
*cough* Though as a matter of sanity, I'd recommend as an unofficial requirement that the player come up with a list of four possible summons for each level, and stick to that. Infinite summon variety may not actually break the game balance, but it can break the game *enjoyment* by being obnoxious.

I mean, the text of the grenades says that the type of creature summoned is set when the grenade is created, so in the case of the bombard fusion you don't actually get to choose after the initial purchase - you certainly don't get to choose with each daily use.

Bombardier Soldiers are a little different, though, since they would be creating the new grenade for each use. In that case, I would say it's not unreasonable to say they need to have a pre-made summon ready for anything they might summon (just like they would with the summon spell anyway). Even then, they would have to select the exact type when they make the grenade - it's not a choice they get to make when the grenade is thrown.


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Torbyne wrote:

Bombardier soldiers get in on some fun but remember the bombarding fusion as well, stock up on multiple level 5 knives with this fusion and have a 1/day grenade for every situation :)

My go to, I think, will be a level 10 weapon with two bombard fusions and two grenades of wonder in it. Maybe use the class feature for a third one just to see what happens. Grenade of grenades or flood of squirrels or... yeah, fun.

Just remember, the level of the grenade can't exceed the level of the item you put the fusion on, so buying a bunch of lvl 5 weapons would let you spam a bunch of level 5 or lower grenades - but even the Mk II Summoning grenade (the second level spell version) is a level 6 item...


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
I don't see where we're actually differing

This line:

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Mechanic: Move Standard Drone: Swift move standard (combine to full round) (BNW note, if i've got this right this seems to be the sweet spot)

Is not correct, for two reasons. First, you cannot transfer ONLY the swift action from the Mechanic to the Drone - the assumption in the rule is you have to use a move action to trigger Master Control first, then if you spend your swift action AS WELL, your drone can take a swift action (or combine all the actions into a full action). Second, you have too many actions here in any case. You cannot have two standard actions and two moves split across the drone and mechanic - it is either two standard actions and one move and one swift split up between them, or else it is one standard action, two moves, and one swift. Alternately, you can have one full action and one standard action, but in that case note that nobody actually gets a swift action at all (significant for hover drones)


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Diego Valdez wrote:

Hello MrTsFloatinghead,

The package was shipped through USPS priority mail and had an estimated transit time of 2-5 business days. We can't track priority mail packages, but it has likely already arrived. I am setting up a replacement to ship out along with your next subscription order. If you are able to retrieve it please let us know.

Thanks for taking care of this for me!


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Diego Valdez wrote:

Hello MrTsFloatinghead,

The package was shipped through USPS priority mail and had an estimated transit time of 2-5 business days. We can't track priority mail packages, but it has likely already arrived. I am setting up a replacement to ship out along with your next subscription order. If you are able to retrieve it please let us know.

It definitely didn't get delivered, the old building is vacant, and the rental office didn't get it either.


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Diego Valdez wrote:

Hello MrTsFloatinghead,

I have updated the shipping address attached to your subscriptions to the new address. Going forward that is where the packages will ship to. Will you be able to retrieve this package from the old address?

I have redacted your personal information from your original post.

Since the old address is no longer valid, my expectation is that the package will be returned as unable to be delivered, since it is currently a vacant apartment. Is there any way to track the delivery status?


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It looks like this order was shipped to my old address, I thought I had updated my default shipping address, but it doesn't appear to have stuck. It should have gone to [redacted], not [redacted].

What do I need to do to make that adjustment stick, and how can I track down my errant package?


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Sliska Zafir wrote:

The scenario has the 2nd Seeker tag, but inside is no information on how to earn an additional reputation with the Second Seekers.

Was this information accidentally struck from the text on final edit?

Confirmed that this is an error on the Starfinder Society Organized Play forums - it should reward the extra Second Seeker reputation for

Spoiler:
accomplishing the primary objective.

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Interesting spoiler for the Dead Suns Adventure Path in the Eox chapter:

Spoiler:

Pg 93, the note about "See Starfinder Adventure Path #6" confirms Corpsefolk for that book, so yet more options for undead player races, probably.


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Weirdo wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
I'm sorry - I was not replying to you because I did not see that there was any disagreement in what you were saying and what I was saying. Your position seemed (and seems) to me to be consistent with my view that there are multiple "right" ways to do it.

That's fair. But just because we don't disagree doesn't mean we can't swap ideas and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. Like so:

Also fair!

Weirdo wrote:

It absoultely can have mechanical advantages. For example, if the ranger decides that his village was destroyed by a dragon, and that he's trained as a dragonslayer, I'll probably include more draconic enemies in the game (possibly even a showdown with the dragon that destroyed his village), giving him more opportunites to use their favoured enemy bonus.

I'm also fond of giving out boons from powerful NPCs or supernatural sources, which generally result from character choices rather than just succeeding at dice rolls. Sometimes the boons involve improvements to some character stat.

But I think the only way in which roleplaying affects success in specific tasks is "conversational tactics," which greystone and others have discussed. For example, at a recent dinner party the summoner guessed that the lady of the house was obsessed with her work, so he decided to ask her questions about it, resulting in an easy improvement to her attitude toward him (essentially an auto-success, given the summoner's Diplomacy bonus). Meanwhile, another player did a highly entertaining impression of someone completely out of their depth at a social event and ended up making a correspondingly bad impression (which nevertheless could be advantageous in the long run, since the hosts will underestimate
...

Interestingly, one of my initial impulses when thinking about mechanical advantages for backgrounds was stuff like having basically "auto-success" on some skill checks with like family NPCs as well, because, for example, I think it could easily seem sort of ridiculous to be like "I greet my parents warmly and settle in for the kind of family dinner we haven't had in far too long" and have the GM be like "Okay, so... roll diplomacy!"

On the other hand, I also realized that if I wanted to generate some paranoia on the part of a players, I could do things like this:

Player: "I greet my parents warmly and settle in for the kind of family dinner we haven't had in far too long"

GM: "Okay, roll a sense motive check for me, no particular reason why..."


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thejeff wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Not in D&D or Pathfinder.

It really just doesn't work, unless you completely ditch wealth as "treasure found". The wealth disparity is just too great. "Rich" that would be completely game breaking at low levels is "poor" by the standards of a few levels later.

I have done it in other systems that don't run purchased gear as a separate power track.
Rich characters are a staple of superhero fiction and work fine in sueprhero games, since mostly you can't just buy superpowers (A little finagling in there, but no more than in the source material.) I've had rich characters in Call of Cthulhu and other semi modern games.

Yeah, that makes sense... I do kind of wonder if it would work in something like a "Hell's Rebels" style urban intrigue campaign where the whole party played nobles who were seeking to use their wealth and prowess to instigate a coup against the rightful and legitimate ruler of the city (that was the point of Hell's Rebels, right?:P).

No idea. :)

I still don't see how you keep them from spending an insignificant fraction of the wealth they're using to instigate the coup to completely demolish the expected guidelines for gear at the start. And/or, by the end being able to use their looted wealth to bribe nearly everybody.

You could just fiat it: You're starting with X gold in gear and 10,000 for bribe money, PR, etc. Maintain separate accounts, no crossing the lines. Give them extra loot, but mandate no more than WBL on personal gear. At that point though, I'd be tempted to drop the pretence that the gear budget has anything to do with actual money.

Yeah, ideally you'd be able to find some way to balance things so that there were genuine choices (including save for later) for what to do with the money - like point out that if they spend all the treasury in the first week, who is going to pay troops, buy food, etc NEXT week, but then you start getting into a potential resource management game more in line with like a Kingmaker theme.


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thejeff wrote:

Not in D&D or Pathfinder.

It really just doesn't work, unless you completely ditch wealth as "treasure found". The wealth disparity is just too great. "Rich" that would be completely game breaking at low levels is "poor" by the standards of a few levels later.

I have done it in other systems that don't run purchased gear as a separate power track.
Rich characters are a staple of superhero fiction and work fine in sueprhero games, since mostly you can't just buy superpowers (A little finagling in there, but no more than in the source material.) I've had rich characters in Call of Cthulhu and other semi modern games.

Yeah, that makes sense... I do kind of wonder if it would work in something like a "Hell's Rebels" style urban intrigue campaign where the whole party played nobles who were seeking to use their wealth and prowess to instigate a coup against the rightful and legitimate ruler of the city (that was the point of Hell's Rebels, right?:P).


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Redelia wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Redelia wrote:
I am very uncomfortable any time an adult talks about 'punishing' or 'rewarding' another. I don't think that's an appropriate way to be thinking about any relationship. It's destructive to the relationship, and destructive to any fun in the activity.

But isn't providing good consequences for good decisions and less good consequences for less good decisions pretty much the definition of a GM's job? It's not a feature of the relationship with the players, but it's an inherent feature of the game the GM and players have agreed to play.

How do you conceptualise XP and treasure in your games, if not as rewards?

I don't do either. We do exclusively story levelling, and I cut out all the experience grinding random encounters and only do random encounters I think my players will enjoy. Wealth is done as everyone at level up has wealth by level. The focus is on the story and your character's place in the story. There is nothing that would be labelled as either 'rewards' or 'punishment,' there are only 'natural consequences' both good and bad. (I'm using language from parenting literature here)

edit: I should specify that this is for home games, not PFS games.

Your mention of wealth by level raises an area where I definitely think there are RP reward potentials, but also potential minefields.

Has anyone had much experience finding ways to incorporate "rich" characters into games without resorting to the tried and true tropes of like the lost heir or disowned/disgraced/bastard noble? I've had some success with giving minor "bonuses" like making sure to always have NPC's play up the quality of the rich character's clothes, or letting the party handwave minor expenses like food and housing at an inn by putting it on the rich character's "Tab", but it's definitely an area where it's easy both to make players feel disadvantaged by comparison, but also to make players feel like their character's background isn't really being incorporated into the game. Do people just generally avoid okaying the "I'm really rich" background to avoid the headache?


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Irontruth wrote:

There are merits for it, and against it. Those merits measure differently in different areas, and there is a lot of room to debate that. We could think of it like this: is the rules text or the GM the final arbiter?

If the text: objective
If the GM: subjective

Which is better in a given situation is preference, but whether something is one or the other is factual.

Right, but what I'm saying is that from my perspective it is always functionally the case that the GM is the final arbiter because the decision by the GM to make the rules the final arbiter was ultimately a subjective one.

"I choose to go outside of the pure rules to make this game run as best I can" and "I choose to stick purely to the rules text here to make this game run as best I can" strike me as equivalently subjective choices, and it seems to me that you are saying they are not equivalently subjective, correct? That's the point on which I have been arguing that I would like us to agree to disagree on.

In any case, since this is the advice forums, do you have any good examples of more "light-touch" interventions you use when you see an adventure is going off the rails, particularly ones that you think people like me who are maybe more open to subjective intervention than you are might overlook?


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Weirdo wrote:


MrTsFloatingHead wrote:
I want this thread to be a space where everyone can discuss their own PREFERENCES without fear of direct judgment,

It is hard to believe that is the case when I've made an effort to discuss different ways to "reward" roleplaying and you haven't engaged with any of those suggestions?

For example, do you feel your roleplaying effort is sufficiently rewarded when the GM designs plot elements tailored to your character backstory?

I'm sorry - I was not replying to you because I did not see that there was any disagreement in what you were saying and what I was saying. Your position seemed (and seems) to me to be consistent with my view that there are multiple "right" ways to do it. I liked all of your suggestions - I think there are a great many ways to reward players - certainly building their backstory and character beats into the world is one - and one that I would assume would (or at least could be seen to) have mechanical advantages, right?


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Irontruth wrote:
As a historian, I hate counterfactuals. I can't tell you how a situation would have played out differently if I changed an element of it.

This is extremely interesting to me (tangent incoming, please feel free to ignore), because my educational background is also in history, but I LOVE counterfactuals as a thought experiment, though I think we can both agree that they get taken way too far, or way too seriously (particularly when it comes to military history). Still, I do like the game of "what if" as an intellectual exercise. Particularly when it comes to teaching, I find that asking a question like "What might have been different if the peoples of the America's had had access to the same sorts of opportunities for domesticated livestock and beasts of burden as those in Europe, Africa, and Asia?" is helpful for shining a light on the way those kinds of things may and may not have led to where we are. The key I think is to make it clear that nobody can answer with authority, but simply to use the thought experiment to evaluate various arguments for how/why we got to where we are today.

Irontruth wrote:


I can give examples of my playstyle and how it has succeeded or not.

Thanks for the examples (and the link, I will check that out later), and I agree that it sounds like your playstyle was effective and fun for everyone involved. The Odin story specifically sounds awesome - I've done something similar as a player in Scion, where by the climax of that campaign was that my character worked a great fatebinding so that the players all basically had a choice - they could allow Ragnarok (in the form of a full-out nuclear war) to happen, blasting the modern world back into something resembling Numeria, and we could start a new campaign (and game system), setting up our current characters as the new pantheon of gods and rolling up new characters, OR they could stop the nukes but in so doing expose themselves and the world of myth and legend to a great fatebinding that changed the nature of that world into one less resembling myth and more resembling modern comic books and superheros. And then we could roll up some Champions characters. Sadly, I got a job out of town and a few others had to move away before we were going to have a chance to do either of those campaigns, so we essentially left it as a cliff-hanger on which was going to happen.

I don't generally do convention gaming, so my experiences are typically more with groups in various friendly local gaming stores, but I've played a variety of games with a smaller variety of people (many games were variations on the 3.5 chassis, admittedly, like Pathfinder, the 3.5 version of Iron Kingdoms, and Star Wars Saga edition, but also more narrative games like Scion).

Probably one great example of my game play working well AND not so well would be one of my all time favorite sessions - the night I put my Legacy Era Star Wars party through an adventure set on an abandoned Nebulon-B Medical Refit from the rebellion era. It was almost all my own adventure design, and I designed it along the lines of a horror movie. I'll spare you the (literally) gory details, but the central premise was that the ship had been hijacked back during the Rebellion's evacuation of Hoth by a deranged 2-1B medical droid who had corrupted the ship's systems and droids, resulting in the predictable horrors.

It was super-creepy and super-atmospheric, but it was also one of the first adventures I'd ever really designed from the ground up (though still, I think my best, or at least most interesting), and I got some stuff wrong, so I was having to make adjustments on the fly. In particular enemy hp were a bit in flux, as I sought to find a level where the party was challenged enough that everyone had something to do each fight, even the less mechanically combat optimized characters. This was pretty successful, and several really tense, really interesting an memorable fights were had.

The part that worked less well was the big reveal at the end that all this horror had been orchestrated by a simple 2-1B Medical droid that went down on the very first roll of the final combat to a sub-auto blaster crit from the least combat inclined of the party, because given that it was super late by that point, and that my intention had always been that the end boss was simply a deranged droid, I just used the rules for the stock factory droid as presented. After all the epic fights earlier, ending on the anti-climax didn't work as well as I wanted, but overall it was still a highly successful adventure, and I think it's one that probably nobody else but me could have delivered, given how much I had to adjust and ad-hoc my way through it to realize my intended vision.

One of the biggest adjustments I made to my initial intended plan was that when it became clear that the guards I had stated out were a bit too powerful for the overall power level of my party, I decided to add in a new rule, whereby all the weapons on the guard droids were stun/non-lethal only - this meant that when part of the party got overwhelmed (because it's a horror movie, of course they split the party), instead of being dead or incapacitated for the long term, they were instead strapped into a surgical bed for "treatment", setting up a clear countdown for the rest of the party to either rescue them or for them to free themselves (and that, too, required a bit of ad-hocery, since I hadn't really considered that approach before the game, I didn't have a firm set of options for how one might escape, so we had to RP it out and make up options as we went).

One of the cool things of adjusting like I did too was that it actually allowed for that very cinematic thing where early on the enemies seem utterly implacable, but that soon the heroes learn how they work and are quickly adapting and thrashing through them. To me, not being willing to make these subjective calls and give my players credit and bonuses for clever ideas or cinematic bits of narrative (however delivered), would likely have resulted in a significantly less successful session, and indeed probably would have resulted in the adventure not working at all. In your experience, how have you handled it when you realize that your adventure is going off the rails for whatever reason?


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Irontruth wrote:
All I see is a lot of dancing around to avoid answering the question. You didn't reduce my opinion that you've avoided answering the question, you've heightened it.

And you are entitled to that entirely subjective opinion. I disagree, and think there is another way to interpret what I'm saying. The difference here is that I'm not saying your point of view is wrong, I'm just disagreeing with it.

I neither want nor desire your "approval" - what I want is this:

I want this thread to be a space where everyone can discuss their own PREFERENCES without fear of direct judgment, and we are free to expand our perceptions of each other's playstyles so that we can come to what I think is the likely conclusion - that we are not actually diametrically opposed at all, but rather that we are just at different spots on a spectrum of "good play", which each of our personal places on that spectrum determined by our own subjective preferences, but that nobody is doing it "wrong" - that way you can share what is best about your games and I and others can share what is best about our games, and everyone's game is richer for the experience.

To the extent to which you or anyone else feels that my behavior has been poor, and that I am preventing this world from coming into being, I apologize, again. I understand why you feel that why - however, I feel VERY strongly that a necessary precondition for having the kind of discussion that I want to have (and that I think is still possible, and that I think is even happening in places outside the sideshow that is this direct back and forth) is that people be willing to at least acknowledge the possible reasonableness and legitimacy of opposing viewpoints - even those that we strongly personally disagree with.

What I want is for you to accept my apology and acknowledge ONLY that you can see why I might interpret your stated positions as being a barrier to the kind of conversation I genuinely think we all want to have. You do not in any way have to agree that your behavior has factually been the barrier that I think it is, nor do you have to defend yourself against any accusation that it was your intent to prevent a free exchange of ideas. All I want is for you to accept that you can see how a reasonable person can disagree with what you are saying and interpret things my way, because point blank if you are unwilling to extend at least the olive branch of an assumption of reasonableness back, I don't see how we can both participate in the discussion, and that to me would be sad (and I make no claim as to who SHOULD participate, to be clear!).

Beyond that, my SUGGESTION is that in the "grand" tradition of our back and forth thus far, you also answer for me a question:

Can you share one of your favorite experiences at your table that you feel would not have been possible under my preferred playstyle, so that we can discuss how I might have handled it differently (or not!), without either of us saying that the other person is objectively wrong?

***EDIT: Upon review of the wording of my question to you and in light of our recent exchange, if you wanted to also extend the olive branch that you can see things my way as well as hoist me by my own petard, I would definitely laugh if you simply answered "Yes." :)***


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thejeff wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
To the thread in general: The root disagreement is not a textual misunderstanding or a failure in communication (though I'm sure those have happened as well). The root disagreement is that one side is asserting the first plank of my "middle ground" (that they are absolutely allowed to hold their own opinions) without granting the second two.
If I'm part of that one side, that is not the root disagreement.

Then what do you see as the disagreement? The only thing I am arguing for is that your opinions aren't facts and that however entitled you are to believe them, I'm just as entitled to believe mine, so instead of passing JUDGMENT on each other, we should simply accept that our views are legitimately different. We can still discuss our different preferences, but it would be a whole lot more reasonable thread if one side would stop asserting those preferences as fact.

I have repeatedly and explicitly said that you are entitled to your opinion, it's just that those opinions are not objective facts and thus you don't get to pass judgment on others. The response I have gotten is that they are, in fact, objective facts (thus refusing the second idea - that I am allowed different beliefs to you), and that what I feel and do is therefore "wrong" (thus refusing the third idea - that it is not acceptable to impose upon the other).


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Shinigami02 wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Warped Savant wrote:
*Snip*
Sure, I've played with people who where shy, and people who didn't say things in character. All players play differently, too, of course. But honestly, I don't see a contradiction - given the incredibly wide scope for what "good roleplaying" is, I have never experienced, as a player or as a GM, or even as a spectator of other people's games, a situation where an entire session went on and I wasn't able to find a single solitary thing praiseworthy about an individual players actions. I don't seek to limit what counts as "good roleplaying" beyond "did something that added to the experience at the table", and the reason I'm adamant that what I'm doing isn't biased or bad is because I have never been in a situation where a player didn't add something of value to a session (even when overall I felt the player was a net drag on the table and had to have a conversation about being rude to other players). Every player brings something unique and cool to the table in my experience, and I cannot imagine a situation where that is not true.
This is as much out of curiosity as anything, just wanting to know... can you give an example of rewarding good roleplaying with a combat-focused character? And I mean something other than, say, a flanking bonus or other such bonus that is hard-coded into the basic mechanics of the game, and not counting stuff like the instance of "I'm a body builder IRL so I use my bodybuilding knowledge to influence these barbarians in this social encounter" but an actual judgement-call based bonus in a combat situation. Something that would make the BSF or Sneak Attack Rogue feel special (ignore that specific wording if it disagrees with you, as stated before I'm not the best wordsmith, but just that idea of "you did really good, have a bonus") for doing their big thing of fighting.

It's not my example, certainly, but for instance watch any of the Penny Arcade DnD games with Pat Rothfuss, and the running gags about using a chandelier to get some kind of combat advantage. That would be an example of something like using the environment cleverly - note that there are no rules anywhere that I know of for how to swing on a chandelier and bring it crashing down onto enemies, so in the event that a player tried something like that, I would have to either say "no, sorry, there's nothing in the rules that allows you to do that", which I find deeply unsatisfying, or I would have to make up something on the fly, in exactly the same way as I have to make up social interactions and their in-game implications.

(you could, I suppose, argue that you could decide what material the chandelier was made of, calculate it's mass and height, evaluate its shape and what kind of damage it would do if it falls, what kind of rope or chain suspends it, including thickness, so you can determine both hardness and hp, etc. but even then that's just pushing the subjectivity to making those calls, and I would argue that requiring that much work for such a simple action becomes a de-facto if not de-jure ban on it.)


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Irontruth wrote:

Oh, you need an example. I asked you at one point if your method was objective or subjective. You replied "yes". It isn't a yes or no question. Saying "yes" is an obfuscation. Based on the tenor of the rest of that post, it was quite an intentional obfuscation.

There is only as much burden on you to provide proof and justification as you want there to be.

Here's the thing, right now, I'm just annoyed at you trying to get out of the concept that you are adding potential bias to your system. That's it. If you accept that, there's nothing left to debate.

First - the question you were referring to was "Is your method objective or subjective?" - that IS properly considered a rhetorically yes/no question. This is why I typically answer the question I believe you MEANT to ask, not the plain-text reading of the question you actually asked - however, you also object to that practice, so I'm again really not sure how you expect me to communicate with you. If I had said "I think what you mean to ask here is 'Which method do you generally use, an objective one or a subjective one?'", you would be holding up this same question as an example of how I refuse to answer your simple questions and instead distort them into something they are not.

Second - The reason I answered the way I did rather than edit that question you meant to ask is because upon reflection, "yes" is really also the correct answer to that question, because there is not one "method" - there are "methods" plural, and they all contain some element of subjectivity and objectivity, just like your methods do. Hence, again, "yes" is the logically correct answer to your question.

Third - if you are going to claim something to be an "objective truth" (IE something with which it is impossible to reasonably DISagree), that process requires a deep philosophical and scientific argumentation. On the other hand, disproving a claim of objective proof is relatively easy: "If something is objectively true, then by definition it cannot be reasonably disagreed with. I reasonably disagree with your position, thus it cannot be objectively true." Conditional, meet contrapositive. It's as simple as that.

Fourth - Again, I accept that you BELIEVE that I am adding bias to the system. I am asking you to understand that your belief in that position, however firmly and genuinely you feel it to be true, it still merely a belief. You have every right to have it - I accept your right to hold that belief even if I don't agree with the conclusions you draw. What you are demanding is that I accept your belief is TRUE, and that I will not do, not only because I genuinely and firmly believe that it is not true, but because I understand that the conclusion I believe(d) that you are trying to defend does not require that your believe be accepted as true.

For the record, I believe (giving you the benefit of the doubt) that you are not REALLY trying to be judgmental and seek to cause other people to conform your play to your subjective preferences, merely that you are trying to assert your right to HAVE those subjective preferences. More and more, however, I am becoming convinced that you really are inappropriately trying to step beyond that into something truly improper, which is to tell me that I should not be allowed to think and feel the way I do. You very clearly are annoyed at what you feel is my attempt to get you to change your "opinions" - I am saying I am annoyed that your position requires essentially pushing me and my preferred playstyle out of this conversation and out of this hobby, because you are saying that not only can you not agree with me (which is fine), but you cannot even accept my right to disagree with your "facts" (which is decidedly not fine).

I am trying to get to this middle ground: You are allowed your beliefs, even if I disagree with them. I am allowed my beliefs even if you disagree with them. Neither of us is justified in imposing our beliefs on the other as "facts", no matter how strongly we hold our beliefs.

To the thread in general: The root disagreement is not a textual misunderstanding or a failure in communication (though I'm sure those have happened as well). The root disagreement is that one side is asserting the first plank of my "middle ground" (that they are absolutely allowed to hold their own opinions) without granting the second two.

EDIT: Note - there was an error in the text of my third point which could very easily have caused confusion about what my definition of an objective fact is - I have corrected the typo and apologize for any confusion.


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Irontruth wrote:


I think certain points you've made are factually wrong. Not just a difference in preference, but in how you justify and portray them. I'm willing to have a conversation about your method, but you refuse to admit certain facts that are true about it, so we have to debate these facts instead. Maybe they aren't true facts, and I am mistaken, but in that case I'm going to need to see a lot of clarification, and the best way for me to get there is precise answer to my questions. For the time being, I'm not enthused about reading the walls of text.

So:

You won't accept my position without a lot of clarification, but you also won't allow me to give you that clarification because you are only willing to accept answers that come to you in a form that you have effectively custom-designed to make it impossible for you to get that clarification. Hell, I gave simple, direct answers to the questions you asked, and while you assert that I was sidestepping them, you have no actual demonstration of that for me to attempt to understand or respond to. In essence, you are establishing a position that says "MrTsFloatinghead's opinions and preferences can go die in a fire, and if he or anyone else wants to discuss that position with me, they can only do so by adopting my preferences". I am not sure what you think you are offering there that is tempting, or even reasonable. Why should I conform to your preferences if you aren't even willing to acknowledge the possible legitimacy of mine? Why is the burden only on me?

To be clear, I am not, nor have I ever been, attempting to make you AGREE with me. I'm just trying to get you to accept that it is legitimate to disagree on the facts here. As for debating the facts, I have already tried that with you, and as far as I can tell, you have not even bothered to consider the things I am saying - not because you don't agree with them, but because the way in which you disagree with them exactly conforms to patterns of reasoning that I am intimately familiar with. Now, maybe that's not conclusive evidence - maybe that's just coincidence. I can't know exactly how you are thinking, I can only infer it from what you do and say - that's pretty much my point. I think of this as the problem of limited information. I know myself and how good my arguments are with an extremely high degree of confidence, but I can only infer from what I see of your arguments what's going on "behind the screen", so to speak. I also recognize that the same thing is true for you - the difference between us is that when faced with this problem my epiphany is that the only way forward that seems reasonable to me is to a) Accept that what I know about myself and my position is true b) Extend you and your position the exact same respect I give mine, and accept therefore that your position is every bit as valid as mine, even if I disagree with it and finally c) my position doesn't require that I challenge your premises because my position accepts that there is more than one correct way of looking at things.

Put bluntly, my position CAN be, I think, summed up in a very short statement and simple question:

I'm not judging the way you like to play, or even trying to make you change your preferences, merely seeking to defend that I am not "wrong" to play and think differently. What right do you have to judge my preferences and attempt to get me to conform to yours?


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Warped Savant wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
..."How do you make sure the bonuses are cool and fun, and not something the players just expect if they know everyone is going to get the same amount?" and the answer to that is that I use my judgment about what seems cool to me, and ideally pace it out so that everyone gets one bonus every session, but not all at the same time. The method I use to ensure that? There's this cool invention, it's called "numbers", and you can use them to keep track of all sorts of things...

You seem to be contradicting yourself here so I'm hoping you can clarify this for me. You reward people for good role playing, which would indicate that if someone doesn't do it they don't get a bonus. But you also say that you try to give it to each person once per session.

Does your group have anyone that's shy/quiet? Do you have anyone that doesn't say things in character?
(By saying that you only give the bonus to someone when they do something cool but that you try to give them out evenly tells me that your group all plays in a very similar fashion. That's not an experience that I've ever had.)

Sure, I've played with people who where shy, and people who didn't say things in character. All players play differently, too, of course. But honestly, I don't see a contradiction - given the incredibly wide scope for what "good roleplaying" is, I have never experienced, as a player or as a GM, or even as a spectator of other people's games, a situation where an entire session went on and I wasn't able to find a single solitary thing praiseworthy about an individual players actions. I don't seek to limit what counts as "good roleplaying" beyond "did something that added to the experience at the table", and the reason I'm adamant that what I'm doing isn't biased or bad is because I have never been in a situation where a player didn't add something of value to a session (even when overall I felt the player was a net drag on the table and had to have a conversation about being rude to other players). Every player brings something unique and cool to the table in my experience, and I cannot imagine a situation where that is not true.

Warped Savant wrote:

Also, something else I was wondering:

If a low charisma, not very social character tries to use diplomacy and the player uses his OoC ability to suck up to people and says that the character gives a grand speech (even though the character isn't designed to do such a thing) would you allow them to earn a bonus?
(Asking because I see outgoing and charisma as personality traits that some players have that others don't much in the same way that I see monster knowledge as something that some players have that others don't.)

Maybe. There are definitely situations where it would be appropriate and definitely situations where it would not be appropriate. Not all cases are the same, and demanding that they should be the same is, in my opinion a form of bias.

First, imagine the hypothetical scenario where I reward all forms of good RP EXCEPT giving speeches in character, because I accept the arguments being made here that it's not fair to reward that, since not everyone is comfortable doing that. What about the hypothetical player whose special cool thing is being great at really getting into their character? Why is it "unbiased" that they are not getting a reward for that, and other players are?

Let's extend this further and imagine a scenario where I don't give any kind of mechanical rewards for anything that happens at the table other than what is explicitly spelled out in the rules. In that case I am rewarding the players with mechanical systems mastery (as I always am, as those rewards are baked into the rules), but not rewarding any of the other myriad ways in which players can be awesome. I don't think I can justify saying that I'm being unbiased by just sticking to the rules and therefore I'm not risking treating someone unfairly, because I can empathize with the players who aren't as strong with the rules and feel left out, and I understand that the reason they feel left out is because I made a choice to play the way I have.

Now, people argue that if I just stick to the mechanics of the game that I can give different, non-mechanical rewards (like kindness or positive social feedback) for good roleplay, and that in their experience that is sufficient to encourage good roleplay. That's great for them - I also give out those kinds of rewards too. However, as a GM or as a Player, I do not see any value in or indeed justification for an arbitrary distinction between types of play. If you are a very social player, that should be able to contribute just as much to the success of the party as a very tactical player can. Both are awesome, both are different ways to play, both are good, both can and should be rewarded without implying that the other is somehow less valuable, and both contribute to the real-world goal of the game (to have fun crafting a collaborative story), so both should also be viable ways to contribute to success with in-game goals as well.


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Warped Savant wrote:
Right, so, I might see what the problem is... I think, and tell me if I'm wrong, in regards to bonuses to social skills you're giving slight bonuses to characters when they're good with the skill and the player is saying something appropriate to the situation?

Yeah, pretty much. I mean, there are definitely potentials for grey areas - characters, like people, change, and so what might have been appropriate at one time might not be appropriate at another time, but honestly I have never found it to be a terribly fraught process to evaluate when a bonus seemed appropriate or not.

Warped Savant wrote:
I think that others are thinking that you're giving the same bonus to anyone even if the character isn't built to be good at social skills.

Maybe... we'll see. I think it's actually a melange of issues, really, from a general distrust of anything that seems to be subjective, to a fear of bad GMs pushing out certain players, to a fear of bad players making the table un-fun for others, to a general unwillingness to accept that just because you feel a way very strongly, that doesn't mean that's the only possible correct way to feel (which is really what I'm trying to move the discussion past). Not everyone has the same concerns, clearly, but I think it's the last one that's really the sticking point at this point.

Warped Savant wrote:
As for the knowledge example that you gave: The player has developed the character to be good at knowledge skills and is keeping track of things. That's an easy to produce, in game mechanic that makes sense. They've accumulated a small library (or, at least, a book or three) and that item is giving them a bonus.

Yeah, definitely, though I would be a little bit careful about tying too much of a character's identity to specific items, as it can create something of a "wizard's spellbook" problem in miniature - IE players can come to regard those kinds of RP-centric items as part of their character (which is entirely reasonable!), and so can really resent it if something happens to those items. On the other hand, with enough trust between players and GM, I can see a ton of potential for cool hooks etc., so, you know, exercise best judgment would be my goal there:)

Warped Savant wrote:

For the mystery one: The bonus would be from solving the puzzle, right? (FYI: I don't like puzzles in games because, as someone else said earlier, there's not really a mechanic for solving them and a player good at solving puzzles has a huge advantage over everyone else regardless of the characters intelligence score.)

That bonus is from the player figuring it out and therefore the character figured it out so that's something in the game, isn't it?

In the example I gave, yeah, the idea is that the player's real life epiphany is a narrative hook to the character in game also having all the necessary pieces to work it out too, so getting a bonus on the chance to do so. This might mean that in this instance the "Ah-Hah!" moment doesn't end up coming from the smartest character in the room (so to speak), but that result was always possible with the dice anyway, and that's the way things really happen sometimes in the real world. If it was happening more than once or twice, that would be something I would look at more closely, but that's not likely with a puzzle-style adventure because:

Yeah, as you noted, those can be a nightmare. They are really really hard to design well and even then can be tough to run well. Protip: When you are at the point of asking your players to each roll against a DC 5 Int check so that you can give someone (ANYONE) the next clue, you need to re-evaluate your approach. Just saying.
I know I guy.

Warped Savant wrote:
Full disclosure: I don't see a point to a +2 bonus for social role-playing most of the time but I completely agree with letting someone pass a check if they're really close and it gives a better result/moves the story along so it's kind of, almost the same thing. (Especially used when I want the players to know something/something will have a huge impact if they figure it out but they didn't quite roll high enough.)

I like the +2 as a generic sort of bonus precisely because I think it feels like something large enough to be a "real" reward, but as you say in practice it doesn't really end up being of overwhelming import. I will say that I try to avoid the temptation to add these bonuses to rolls that are important to me, as the GM, because they move the story along UNLESS there's a pretty solid reason to. I want players to trust that the bonus really is about them and the awesome thing they did, and not because I stupidly check-pointed the entire freaking campaign behind a DC 15 check that really any of them should have been able to make, honest! (Again).


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graystone wrote:


MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
This line is not nearly as bright as you think - indeed, I've argued repeatedly that it does not exist at all.

It's neon bright and flashing along with a band playing... It clear for anyone to see: anything past the mechanics is YOU not the character. So easy to figure out. You being professional actor has no impact on your character's abilities.

Except I don't see it, and I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I know the value and quality of my own perceptions and reasoning. This doesn't mean that I'm better than you, or that my position is better than yours, or that you can't have a different opinion here, but it does mean that it CANNOT be true that there is an objectively clear brightline, because no matter how clear it is to you, it is not clear to everyone.

With that, I refer you to the challenge I posed in my reply to Irontruth. I'm not trying to force you to change your opinion to match mine, I'm just trying to get you to acknowledge that my opinion is just as valid as yours.

EDIT: I just realized that I was misnaming Irontruth as Irontooth, and I honestly don't know how many times I've made that mistake in this thread. I apologize, it's been a long day and I'm tired and not being as careful as I try to be. I can totally see how that could be seen as an attempt at some sort of disrespectful nickname, and that was honestly not my intent. Mea Culpa.


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Irontruth wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Your style of play does add additional potential for bias though. This is a clear fact.

No, it doesn't, and no, it isn't.

Does every player receive the bonus in equal proportions? If so, what method do you use to ensure that all players receive it equally?

To be clear, I'm not asking if all players are equally eligible to get the bonus. I'm asking, do they in fact all receive it an equal number of times.

See, I can guarantee that all my players receive the bonus for "good roleplaying" equally, because there is no bonus, so all players have received it 0 times. Equal.

So we can't, then? Okay, that's too bad. Sorry everyone else!

To answer your questions - yes, they all get equal bonuses. One question that I think you should have asked that I will answer is "How do you make sure the bonuses are cool and fun, and not something the players just expect if they know everyone is going to get the same amount?" and the answer to that is that I use my judgment about what seems cool to me, and ideally pace it out so that everyone gets one bonus every session, but not all at the same time. The method I use to ensure that? There's this cool invention, it's called "numbers", and you can use them to keep track of all sorts of things:

How many times a player has gotten a bonus
How many times a player has killed an enemy
How many times a player has done something cool outside of combat
How many roads a man must walk down before you can call him a man

I mean, really, are you serious with this? Like, really? I'm sorry that I'm snarking you, but... come on. That was low-hanging fruit.

Does this in any way alleviate your concerns that I am doing wrongbadplay?


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Warped Savant wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
What I don't understand is the desire to draw some kind of bright red (even neon) line around things like social skills when player skill and knowledge affects so much of the play of the game.

Do you allow players to use OoC knowledge in regards to monsters? Let's say they're fighting a nereid but the characters don't have much knowledge Arcana. The characters don't know that the nereid's shawl is important because they didn't roll well but a player does.

Do they get a bonus to their knowledge check because it's a random fact they know?

(This is an honest question as I'm trying to better understand where you're coming from.)

Speaking for myself, probably not, no. If there's no real reason why the player's character should know that information, then I wouldn't give a bonus to the knowledge check, because that player knowledge isn't engaged in the narrative in any way.

However, there are certainly some situations where I would. If the player specifically built the character to be something of a monster expert because the player wanted to get more use out of heir personal skill of knowing a bunch about monsters without feeling like they were metagaming, and especially if the player had taken pains to establish those real world skills in the context of the narrative (say the character has a notebook of all the monster lore they've collected that they review every night, and in every town they seek out the town loremaster to share info, then I could probably be persuaded to come up with a bonus on the roll, though in truth if the character is built that way it's hardly likely to matter except at very low levels.

Maybe the better example might be something like this - lets say this encounter was the culmination of something of a mystery adventure, and I had been seeding clues throughout that the players hadn't completely put together yet. If the final encounter happens and the player with the OoC knowledge suddenly puts two and two together and says something like "Oh DUH! The rumors of the bathing lady in the towel! Of course!", then yeah, I'd probably give a reward on the knowledge check, since that seems like a fair reward for solving the puzzle (albeit a bit late), AND I think the narrative of the character suddenly having an epiphany by linking the rumors to a bit of nearly forgotten folklore is cool, if a bit trope-y.


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Irontruth wrote:
Your style of play does add additional potential for bias though. This is a clear fact.

No, it doesn't, and no, it isn't.

There is 100% exactly as much bias in the game in a world in which all GMs give RP bonuses as there is in the world where no GMs do, as there is in the real world where some do and some don't. That you don't agree with this stance is obvious, and I'll not try to demonstrate it again here, because since you were clear about the fact that you cannot be persuaded of this, you've thankfully moved the discussion past where it was a relevant part of the contention.

At this point, your position, as stated, is that we should accept as given your perspective that RP bonuses are inherently biased, and that therefore it is correct to consider them bad gameplay (effectively seeking to argue that people should not be using them).

My position is that we should NOT accept, as given, your perspective, because doing so requires dismissing as invalid or unreasonable my perspective so that you can justify a completely unnecessary judgment against the way I play. Again, you can dislike or disagree with a viewpoint without delegitimizing that viewpoint.

What I keep trying to get to is a negotiated middle ground, where you recognize that I AM accepting that you believe what you believe, and that you have your legitimate reasons for feeling that way, but that I have very good and legitimate reasons why I believe something different, and all I'm asking is that instead of you constructing your position in a way that says that only one perspective and one playstyle is legitimate, you accept that both views are legitimate and that both playstyles are acceptable, even if you personally don't like my way and I personally don't like yours. All I've been fighting for is the recognition that it is, in fact, acceptable to play this game in a way different from what you prefer without it being judged. If you don't want to play the way I play, nobody is forcing you, and you really don't need to justify that position with anything more than "because I don't like it", but the problem comes in when you decide that your dislike is the only possible worldview (it isn't), and that therefore you are justified in judging what other people are doing (you aren't). You have no business telling me or anyone else that our viewpoints are invalid. I have no business telling you or anyone else your viewpoints are invalid too - EXCEPT the part of your viewpoints where you insist that they are the only possible ones.

So, my offer/challenge is this:

I am not trying to say that your beliefs or feelings are illegitimate, and I apologize for the fact that I let my zeal for this topic make me blur (and probably cross) that line. I accept that you feel the way that you do, though I genuinely do not see things your way, and I genuinely disagree with you. I recognize that it is not my business to police your table, and that while I strongly prefer my style of play to yours, and can see the potential ways in which your preferences COULD lead to bias or bad outcomes, I acknowledge that my style has the potential to be equivalently problematic, though in different ways. I respect you enough to trust that you are making what you see as the best choices for your game in good faith, and that you have an absolute right to play your way without judgment from me or anyone else.

That's my offer. The challenge is can everybody say the same? Can we, for the love of everything holy, unholy and secular, be done with this and finally agree that it's okay to be different? Not just "I can't control what you do and I think it's bad but I can't stop you" agree to disagree, but genuinely accept that even though you don't have to like it, the people who play differently are not "wrong" to do so?


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graystone wrote:
You've got something wrong here. Optimization works equally as well for skills AND combat: as such you're asking why you can't double dip bonuses [one set for optimization and one for out of character RP talent]. As such, i find it galling that you want double the bonuses.

First, remember that what I was saying was in response to your claim that in your experience people who like to roleplay do it because they enjoy it, with the implication that they therefore don't really desire any additional rewards, which I understood as being presented as a reason why it's not biased to say they don't really deserve them. I pointed out that I personally DO desire them, so are we now back around to you saying that my desire is wrong and that I don't deserve recognition for adding extra value to the table? Isn't that a kind of bias?

graystone wrote:


MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Why is it that one aspect of what I enjoy is more deserving of reward than another aspect I also enjoy?

Because one is in character and based on mechanics and one isn't?

The mechanical choices I made when building the character are just as much "me" as my roleplaying skills, and my roleplaying skills as a player are just as much a part of my character as those mechanical choices. This line is not nearly as bright as you think - indeed, I've argued repeatedly that it does not exist at all.

graystone wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
This is my point - your stance is a double standard.
from my perspective, it's YOU that's asking for double standard: you want the ability to both optimize your skill AND use out of character skills, while other sections of the game do not offer you the opportunity to allow outside skills to influence them. For it to NOT be a double standard, I should be able to use player knowledge for knowledge checks, use my knowledge of acrobatics for jump checks or my woodworking ability for craft checks. As I can't, you're inventing a double standard for cha skills that other skills and parts of the game can't benefit from.

Well, I mean, I have explicitly said multiple times that I'm open to the idea of players using real life skills in multiple situations to enrich the game and be rewarded for it, so I guess it's not a double standard then?

Specifically, if you'll recall, the distinction I drew was between saying "I deserve a bonus on my strength check because I can lift this heavy thing in real life", which wasn't engaged with the story in any way, and a situation where a player used his real-world knowledge of weightlifting (which was narratively connected to the game through his character's established background as a former carnival strongman) to flavor what could have been either a strength check or an intimidate check. Maybe the bonus would have been to use either the strength bonus or intimidate skill bonus for that check (whichever is higher). Maybe it would have been a +2 bonus to the check. Maybe it would have been simply treated as an automatic "assist" success for the Face player who was trying to convince the barbarians to join forces. Who knows - I trust that I can judge what options are appropriate for a given situation.


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Warped Savant wrote:

Optimizing a character isn't a bonus because everyone is given the same point buy and the same options. If someone's character isn't performing as well as it could be (and they want it to be better) part of my role as a GM is to work with them to find the rules to make their character better.

As for people mentioning things like flanking giving a bonus or system mastery as being a bonus, as above, I see it as my job to help those players learn the rules and to use them to their advantage.

Everyone is given the same options, but not everyone inherently has the same capacity to evaluate and use those options, in precisely the same way that not everyone has the same capacity to be a good roleplayer in social situations. Furthermore, in any given social situation, all players have the also start with the same options - indeed, often there are essentially unlimited ways in which the players could approach a social situation (which is why the mechanics for social situations are necessarily more fluid and less crunch oriented). As such, it seems evident to me that the rest of what you are saying should apply just as much to social RP. If someone feels like they are missing out by not RPing as well as they could (and they want to change that), part of your role as a GM is to work with them to find ways in which they can be more engaged in the game without being uncomfortable.

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