When did making sense become wrongbadfun?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
You mean normal to you. Don't hold me to your definition of normal.
I was using the definition listed in the rules of the game we are all playing.

Rules lawyer! (Emoticon that denotes I'm joking!)


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ciretose wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
And again ciretose, there will be times that the GM's "makes sense" will not match the player's "makes sense" and at that point the GM can either accept the player's approach and move on, or dictate what the player has to do to satisfy the GM's definition. This means the player now has to fulfill the GM's dictates to continue to play, whether the player has any desire to do so themselves. Which is where this debate needs to stay focused.

This isn't what you argued. You argued that the player has no obligation to try and make sense in the setting.

If a GM says "Rocks Fall" with no reason or justification, you would protest as a player a lack of reason or logic.

Why isn't the player expected to, at minimum, attempt to make sense.

Ciretose, I think you are one of the more reasonable and able-minded contributors to this forum. I generally find your posts to be well-thought and your debate points to be well-presented. I am honestly a little surprised by the hard line you are taking here.

Perhaps it is not as "hard line" as it appears, and the reverse might also be true.

I posted either in this thread or in the other thread (sigh, I hate when one debate spreads like a virus across multiple threads...) anyway, I posted that one of my players has no interest in any sort of backstory generation and frankly doesn't have any desire to engage in any of this supposed "expectation" that he "contribute to the creativity" of the game.

He just has no desire or interest in it. Yet he's a good friend and when he is at the table with his character in front of him, he plays his character reasonably well and adds a lot to the game with his personality.

By the standards being set by those on the "player has a responsibility to add to the creativity by justifying their character choices" group here, I only have two options with this player. I can badger and berate him until he decides to quit or decides to do a task he clearly finds onerous, or I can just kick him from the table.

By my standards I can keep him at the table by simply accepting his decisions and if I feel there has to be some "explanation" behind them, I'll go ahead and do that for him. I do most of his character leveling up anyway.

It sounds to me like a large number of posters in this debate would just kick this guy out of their group. Which is OK, but to me that's their loss. He's a good guy, and a lot of fun to have at the table.

Shadow Lodge

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Rules lawyer! (Emoticon that denotes I'm joking!)

I prefer 'Logic Ninja'. WOPAH!

Spoiler:
No relation to the forum member of the same name.

Shadow Lodge

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
So why can't his character be a dragon? Is it badwrongfun like you always say? Why are you trying to ruin his game night?

Purely for the sake of argument, since this entire branch is clearly an attempt to mischaracterize the debate.... But just because I'm curious.

What would your acceptable in game backstory rationale be that you would submit to your GM to explain why your first level rogue suddenly became a dragon?

Why are you putting this unfair burden on the player? Player owns the character. Player says character is a dragon. Thus, character is a dragon.

By the way, you are moving goalposts. Nowhere did he say his character was a rogue who BECAME a dragon. I assume that his character has always been a dragon.


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Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
So why can't his character be a dragon? Is it badwrongfun like you always say? Why are you trying to ruin his game night?

Purely for the sake of argument, since this entire branch is clearly an attempt to mischaracterize the debate.... But just because I'm curious.

What would your acceptable in game backstory rationale be that you would submit to your GM to explain why your first level rogue suddenly became a dragon?

Wait, I thought it didn't have to make sense. I thought I "owned the character." Why am I held to standards no one else is?

So you can't come up with a rationale you would present to your GM then.

I figured as much.


Is a dragon character even in the rules anywhere? Don't you have to go outside the rules of the game to play a dragon character?

Liberty's Edge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
You mean normal to you. Don't hold me to your definition of normal.
I was using the definition listed in the rules of the game we are all playing.

Why are you restraining my creativity with rules!


bookrat wrote:
Is a dragon character even in the rules anywhere? Don't you have to go outside the rules of the game to play a dragon character?

Bookrat, they are just trying to score a rhetorical point by saying that anyone whose style is more inclusive than theirs must by definition have no limits whatsoever or else they are being inconsistent.

It's a hackneyed and tired rhetorical technique that barely even deserves a mention.

This discussion has been about making character choices within the rules, and they know that quite well.

Shadow Lodge

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ciretose wrote:
Why are you restraining my creativity with rules!

What creativity?

Shadow Lodge

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
So why can't his character be a dragon? Is it badwrongfun like you always say? Why are you trying to ruin his game night?

Purely for the sake of argument, since this entire branch is clearly an attempt to mischaracterize the debate.... But just because I'm curious.

What would your acceptable in game backstory rationale be that you would submit to your GM to explain why your first level rogue suddenly became a dragon?

Wait, I thought it didn't have to make sense. I thought I "owned the character." Why am I held to standards no one else is?

So you can't come up with a rationale you would present to your GM then.

I figured as much.

You're arguing that asking someone to say "I practiced with weapons in my downtime" is an undue burden. Frankly, if that's an undue burden, then I can't see you ever asking them to provide ANYTHING.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
So why can't his character be a dragon? Is it badwrongfun like you always say? Why are you trying to ruin his game night?

Purely for the sake of argument, since this entire branch is clearly an attempt to mischaracterize the debate.... But just because I'm curious.

What would your acceptable in game backstory rationale be that you would submit to your GM to explain why your first level rogue suddenly became a dragon?

Wait, I thought it didn't have to make sense. I thought I "owned the character." Why am I held to standards no one else is?

So you can't come up with a rationale you would present to your GM then.

I figured as much.

It's fun winning arguments by yourself, isn't it?

Alright background, "I'm a dragon because my mother and father were dragons." "I'm a dragon because of an ancient family curse that turns every third generation of my family into dragons."

Leveling up, "I seem to have caught some sort of disease that has turned me into a dragon." "Apparently that last dungeon had an ancient curse that turned me into a dragon."

Oh dear lord you were right. That was tremendous effort. I may have to go lay down for awhile. (Now your turn, why can't he be a dragon if it is his character?)

Liberty's Edge

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
And again ciretose, there will be times that the GM's "makes sense" will not match the player's "makes sense" and at that point the GM can either accept the player's approach and move on, or dictate what the player has to do to satisfy the GM's definition. This means the player now has to fulfill the GM's dictates to continue to play, whether the player has any desire to do so themselves. Which is where this debate needs to stay focused.

This isn't what you argued. You argued that the player has no obligation to try and make sense in the setting.

If a GM says "Rocks Fall" with no reason or justification, you would protest as a player a lack of reason or logic.

Why isn't the player expected to, at minimum, attempt to make sense.

Ciretose, I think you are one of the more reasonable and able-minded contributors to this forum. I generally find your posts to be well-thought and your debate points to be well-presented. I am honestly a little surprised by the hard line you are taking here.

Perhaps it is not as "hard line" as it appears, and the reverse might also be true.

I posted either in this thread or in the other thread (sigh, I hate when one debate spreads like a virus across multiple threads...) anyway, I posted that one of my players has no interest in any sort of backstory generation and frankly doesn't have any desire to engage in any of this supposed "expectation" that he "contribute to the creativity" of the game.

He just has no desire or interest in it. Yet he's a good friend and when he is at the table with his character in front of him, he plays his character reasonably well and adds a lot to the game with his personality.

There is requiring back story and having an expectation of things making sense.

I personally don't require backstory as a GM, nor has any GM I've played with. We make it clear you will probably get a game more geared toward your character if you have one, but it isn't required.

We do, however, require that the concept make sense. Because otherwise you disrupt the game for everyone else at the table.

Your description of "playing his character reasonably well" might very well meet my criteria of "making sense". I suspect that is where the disagreement comes in.

Playing your character, to me, requires a character you are actually playing.

If that character doesn't even have a logical reason to exist to the player, how the hell is anyone else supposed to be able suspend disbelief that it exists in the world of the characters they also created?

Which is why "Make sense" is a baseline. If you can't argue that a concept makes sense, you are basically saying "I don't give a crap about anyone else at the table, I want my numbers to be how I want them."

And that isn't cool.


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Kthulhu wrote:


You're arguing that asking someone to say "I practiced with weapons in my downtime" is an undue burden. Frankly, if that's an undue burden, then I can't see you ever asking them to provide ANYTHING.

See, this is exactly what I mean. Thanks for the perfectly timed example of what I meant Kthulhu.

Liberty's Edge

TOZ wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Why are you restraining my creativity with rules!
What creativity?

Dark TOZ got dark...

Shadow Lodge

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His character is a dragon because reasons.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

ICE COLD BURN!


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ciretose wrote:
We do, however, require that the concept make sense. Because otherwise you disrupt the game for everyone else at the table.

This implies some sort of community agreement on what "makes sense" in a game that already has finger-wiggling to rain down balls of fire. Who is the final adjudicator of what "makes sense?" The GM has to be I suppose. When a GM is reasonably that probably works fine. When a GM is dictatorial or heavily invested in their own personal definition of "makes sense" this can become a burden on the players.

ciretose wrote:
Your description of "playing his character reasonably well" might very well meet my criteria of "making sense". I suspect that is where the disagreement comes in.

Well, I think you and I might also have a different expectation of what "reasonably well" means too ciretose.

ciretose wrote:


Playing your character, to me, requires a character you are actually playing.

If that character doesn't even have a logical reason to exist to the player, how the hell is anyone else supposed to be able suspend disbelief that it exists in the world of the characters they also created?

All of this is subjective. The baseline only true and "logical" reason the character exists is because your group got together and wanted to play a game. Every single other thing is a rationalization or exposition. If "logical reason" is examined at its root, then "hey, I want to play in your game" is a perfectly acceptable "reason to exist" for the character.

ciretose wrote:

Which is why "Make sense" is a baseline. If you can't argue that a concept makes sense, you are basically saying "I don't give a crap about anyone else at the table, I want my numbers to be how I want them."

And that isn't cool.

While it may be true that some players don't "give a crap about anyone else at the table" or "want my numbers to be how I want them" those are not even remotely a full set of reasons for the existence of such a character. Those are just two that can be pointed to by someone wanting to justify a more rigorous approach to character creation.

In the case of my poker night player I can guarantee you that he gives a crap about the other players and he couldn't really care less about the numbers on his sheet.


Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
So why can't his character be a dragon? Is it badwrongfun like you always say? Why are you trying to ruin his game night?

Purely for the sake of argument, since this entire branch is clearly an attempt to mischaracterize the debate.... But just because I'm curious.

What would your acceptable in game backstory rationale be that you would submit to your GM to explain why your first level rogue suddenly became a dragon?

Wait, I thought it didn't have to make sense. I thought I "owned the character." Why am I held to standards no one else is?

So you can't come up with a rationale you would present to your GM then.

I figured as much.

It's fun winning arguments by yourself, isn't it?

Alright background, "I'm a dragon because my mother and father were dragons." "I'm a dragon because of an ancient family curse that turns every third generation of my family into dragons."

Leveling up, "I seem to have caught some sort of disease that has turned me into a dragon." "Apparently that last dungeon had an ancient curse that turned me into a dragon."

Oh dear lord you were right. That was tremendous effort. I may have to go lay down for awhile. (Now your turn, why can't he be a dragon if it is his character?)

Those are amazingly wonderful backstory expositions Durngrun! Unfortunately I cannot allow your request because, you see, it doesn't actually conform to the rules of the game.

Shadow Lodge

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:

Alright background, "I'm a dragon because my mother and father were dragons." "I'm a dragon because of an ancient family curse that turns every third generation of my family into dragons."

Leveling up, "I seem to have caught some sort of disease that has turned me into a dragon." "Apparently that last dungeon had an ancient curse that turned me into a dragon."

Oh dear lord you were right. That was tremendous effort. I may have to go lay down for awhile. (Now your turn, why can't he be a dragon if it is his character?)

You gonna be ok dude? You look exhausted.

Liberty's Edge

@AD - Then he would likely to have reasons for his selections, unless he is just picking at random.

Can you give an example of a choice he made that doesn't make sense, but you allowed? Him or anyone at your table.


I have actually had games with characters who played dragon characters. So long as the game balance is met, that's fine.

Also, as soon as one of my players actually requests something like "I want to become a dragon" then I guess I'll deal with it. Until then it's just a silly rhetorical device that you guys are determined to run into the ground.

Knock yourself out. I'll continue to discuss rationally with people like ciretose who are sticking to the actual issues.

Liberty's Edge

It isn't about a baseline of "makes sense" as much as it is about "makes sense, here in this game."

We had a whole monster campaign with an "Order of the Fang" concept where we were all trying to do good deeds to prove all our people weren't evil.

I played a scrub druid (not actually, but there was some race that was basically a plant in 3.5), my buddies played an Ogre, a Kobald, a Goblin and a couple other things I can't remember.

And in that set up, that all made sense. And that was fine.

Where I have a problem is when a player force the table to adapt to them, rather than adapting to the table, because they can't even be bothered to try and make up a even a half assed rationale for what they are doing in character.


ciretose wrote:

@AD - Then he would likely to have reasons for his selections, unless he is just picking at random.

Can you give an example of a choice he made that doesn't make sense, but you allowed? Him or anyone at your table.

Well, since my definition of "makes sense" seems pretty liberal compared to many posting here, that might be difficult.

"Poker night guy" is a bad example for this anyway since leveling him up is usually a group activity since he generally doesn't have any direction of his own to follow.

"Munchkin guy" from a few years ago would be the best example. That was back in 3.5 when multi-classing was the rage anyway. He would pick a class of sorcerer or something else to make his concept work. But he was into the role play too so he always provided a backstory. Some of his explanations I thought were pretty contrived, but I never rejected them on that basis.

I probably can't remember an example because this just hasn't been an issue at our table. Our group is, perhaps, more casual about gaming than some represented on this thread. In general the GMs in our group will do whatever we can to allow a player to fulfill a concept they are pursuing. Our general approach is to focus more on balance than on how creative the player is in his request. If it's balanced, we generally allow it.

Liberty's Edge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
ICE COLD BURN!

Icy Hot!.

\


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Wow. AD, what happened to reasonable, logical debate? People sure are stepping all over you for nothing.

I for one agree with just about everything you stated.

If the player doesn't care what his reason is, kick him because his play style does not mesh with yours (not what I would do) or assign him a reason that makes you happy.

I love detailed maps (hirst arts and projectors at my table) and well painted minis. I won't walk from a game because a GM is using a battle mat with pens and dice for minis. I won't kick a player for not spending the hundreds of hours over 20 years that I have to paint what I think is a decent mini. In both cases the GM or Player has not put in the effort for what I feel is a very important part of immersion. By the logic of the OP these people should be kicked because they are not putting forth the effort to present the game at my level.

Just because it is your style doesn't mean it should be forced on him.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

I have actually had games with characters who played dragon characters. So long as the game balance is met, that's fine.

Also, as soon as one of my players actually requests something like "I want to become a dragon" then I guess I'll deal with it. Until then it's just a silly rhetorical device that you guys are determined to run into the ground.

Knock yourself out. I'll continue to discuss rationally with people like ciretose who are sticking to the actual issues.

We will stop with our silly rhetorical device as soon as we have your 20 pages of background. (And they better be good!)


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ciretose, your approach sounds a lot like my approach some 25 to 30 years ago, back when I took this game very, very seriously. Back then immersivity and verisimilitude were extremely important to me. Back then I would probably have had a very similar approach to making players "explain themselves".

Maybe I'm just old and just don't want to put that much effort into the process anymore. Maybe so.

I greatly enjoy playing in games that have that level of verisimilitude and focus on immersivity. I prefer it in fact.

But I learned a long time ago that pushing such a hard line narrowed my player population potential considerably, and specifically excluded some of my close friends who wanted to play. So I've adopted a play style that includes my friends and allows me to play more frequently.

Heh, I guess you could argue that I've "sold out" or something like that. I'm just in it for the fun now. Back in the old days I had these visions of writing the greatest RPG world ever and novelizing the exploits of our games for fun and profit.

Now I just enjoy playing the game.

Sovereign Court

ciretose wrote:
Jarl wrote:
What I am saying is if you are going to be a player who expects the GM to create a setting that "makes sense" the minimum you can do in return is make a character that "make sense"

Define "makes sense".

Sovereign Court

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Adamantine Dragon wrote:

ciretose, your approach sounds a lot like my approach some 25 to 30 years ago, back when I took this game very, very seriously. Back then immersivity and verisimilitude were extremely important to me. Back then I would probably have had a very similar approach to making players "explain themselves".

Maybe I'm just old and just don't want to put that much effort into the process anymore. Maybe so.

I greatly enjoy playing in games that have that level of verisimilitude and focus on immersivity. I prefer it in fact.

But I learned a long time ago that pushing such a hard line narrowed my player population potential considerably, and specifically excluded some of my close friends who wanted to play. So I've adopted a play style that includes my friends and allows me to play more frequently.

Heh, I guess you could argue that I've "sold out" or something like that. I'm just in it for the fun now. Back in the old days I had these visions of writing the greatest RPG world ever and novelizing the exploits of our games for fun and profit.

Now I just enjoy playing the game.

CRASH!! (Sound of nail hitting head) AD you have said it in a nutshell - the game is for fun. Since when do orcs, wizards or magic make sense? ROFLAMO

Sovereign Court

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I have a real world job that is very stressful. I have a mortgage, bills and children which are now on their own, but I still worry about them.

I play games to get away from that and prevent myself from throttling someone at work. THAT would be a BAD THING!


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ciretose wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
You mean normal to you. Don't hold me to your definition of normal.
I was using the definition listed in the rules of the game we are all playing.
Why are you restraining my creativity with rules!

Would you rather he restrain the rules with your creativity?

Liberty's Edge

Wanting the game to make sense is an unreasonably high bar?


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I learned a long time ago that pushing such a hard line narrowed my player population potential considerably, and specifically excluded some of my close friends who wanted to play.

I don't think he is pushing a hard line. His literal example is "I trained with swords." Is that to much to ask? Is that driving away players? I just don't see that happening. But thanks for telling us we are not as experienced as you at gaming. I guess we will get it right someday if we just hang in there.


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ciretose wrote:
Wanting the game to make sense is an unreasonably high bar?

It's a Schroedinger's Bar. You never know exactly where anyone's bar is until you actually hit it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Wel, you can want in one hand...


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Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I learned a long time ago that pushing such a hard line narrowed my player population potential considerably, and specifically excluded some of my close friends who wanted to play.
I don't think he is pushing a hard line. His literal example is "I trained with swords." Is that to much to ask? Is that driving away players? I just don't see that happening. But thanks for telling us we are not as experienced as you at gaming. I guess we will get it right someday if we just hang in there.

So I know this is a long thread Durngrun Stonebreaker, and that it probably is not worth reading, but "I trained with swords" was not the "makes sense" issue that was initially raised. The initial one that got me into this discussion was taking a level of wizard while deep in a dungeon, and a GM who asked "how did you learn spells while dungeoning?" The "makes sense" bar on that was raised in some cases by some commenters who insisted that it only made sense for the character to be able to become a wizard after completing the current task and getting back to civilization to find the resources necessary to become a wizard. I pointed out that this was not a restriction for taking a level of sorcerer so now "Player A" can accomplish his mult-class goals while "Player B" could not. That's when I said I would work with player B to allow his to work instead of making him wait until leaving the dungeon.

The conversation has morphed considerably since then, but I am still keeping in mind that original issue and responding to multiple points along the way all of which create different expectations of what "makes sense" on a case by case basis.

"I practiced with swords" justifying becoming a fighter is no more "believable" in a pure game mechanic sense than "I found a book" can justify becoming a wizard. Both classes assume an extensive months or years long period of training with masters, learning techniques, moves and abilities to actually become either a fighter or a wizard.

And if "I practiced with swords" is sufficient to "make sense" for a wizard to pick up a level of fighter, then you are right, we have no debate here. Each of us is hand-waving months or years of effort away to allow the player to do what they want. In your case you appear to insist that the player at least SAY "I practiced with swords" while in my case if we've reached that level of hand-waving, I assume it is said without requiring it. That's all.

But again, that level of "explanation" was not considered sufficient at an earlier point in this thread.

As many have said, the goalposts in this discussion have been moving all over the place.


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Here's the deal, there are different styles of playing the game. One group might hack their way through monsters all day long, while another may be really into the story and have really developed characters. One group may know all the rules while another wings it a lot. There is not a right way as long as people have fun. Most of the time, you do not have a group that all likes the same things to the same degree. The GM may need to have social encounters for one player, fights for another player, and traps for another.

The thing to remember is that Pathfinder and tabletop rpgs are social games where the GM and players all need to respect one another. One player may be very quiet most of the time and while the GM might encourage them to speak up, they shouldn't force them. A player might be pretty ineffective in combat, and while the other players may recommend builds or tactics, it is their character and ultimately their decision. And while one player might have a novel length back story and speak with an accent and have a custom mini, he can't force the guy playing the generic dwarf fighter who never speaks in character to suddenly become his acting partner.

In short, until someone is being disruptive and being a dick and cutting into your fun, don't cut into theirs. If you want to roleplay why your rogue became a paladin and do a whole scene about seeing the light of the gods and the errors of his ways, that's awesome. However, when the barbarian takes a level of sorcerer, you don't get to demand an explanation why. You may ask and learn that she is taking rage mage, or that she thinks her barbarian should have draconic blood, but ultimately she doesn't owe you an explanation as to why she did something allowed by the rules that doesn't hurt your character or impact your fun.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

"I just killed this orc and now I know how to build siege engines!"

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
Erosthenes wrote:

I have a real world job that is very stressful. I have a mortgage, bills and children which are now on their own, but I still worry about them.

I play games to get away from that and prevent myself from throttling someone at work. THAT would be a BAD THING!

You see Erosthenes, I get what you are saying in principle. It's a game and not work. Absolutely I get that. However, in my games the players want the immersion factor and for the game to "make sense" and play like an interactive fantasy story out of a good novel. So if I had one player throwing that all to the wind like it was unnecessary and didn't matter, it would not only mess with my GM attempts to make the story as strong as it could be, but would also mess with the other players' expectations and ruin their fun.

A few years ago I had a weekly group similar to what AD talks about with his game, and as GM I had to 'know my audience' and tailor it that way. I knew though that I couldn't mesh a D&D campaign with their desire to go episodic and/or one-shot with low drama and high combat, so I spun up a Talsorian Cyberpunk 2020 game for them, which was a perfect setting for them.


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ciretose wrote:
Wanting the game to make sense is an unreasonably high bar?

I think the burden is on you to establish what doesn't make "sense." If I'm playing a Wizard, and take a level of Monk... So what? As far as I'm concerned, my character levelled up and I took a legal option. My choice already makes sense to me.

From a character perspective, I don't know why any particular choice would not "make sense" in respect to multi-classing, because Class is a metagame concept. A Barb1/Ftr1/Rngr2/Rog5 does not have a sign hanging around his neck declaring his class memberships. He's an angry, sneaky guy who's pretty good in a fight. My mind is not blown.

You are free to declare that certain amounts of fluff are "law" in your campaign world. You can declare that a level of Monk requires monastic training, a level in Druid requires X% of your body to have been exposed to poison oak, and taking a level of Rogue requires you to serve 2 years as the new "Robin." Now, just because all of those things "make sense" to you doesn't mean they will make sense to everyone.

Maybe your Wizard who wants to take a level in Monk isn't able to articulate a vaguely formed idea in his mind about how his Wizard has been completing a magic ritual to enhance his reflexes and senses at the cost of studying/researching a new degree of magical power. Do you, as a GM, state that he can't do it because he didn't go to a monastery? Do you work with him to fit his decision into your "verisimilitude"? Do you have some knee-jerk "ERMAHGEHRDPOWERGAMER" reaction and throw him out of your group?

Liberty's Edge

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Let's just ask it this way:

(1) Last level you were a barbarian. This level you became a wizard.

(2) Is it reasonable for a GM to require you to be able to explain, truthfully and in character, how that remarkable change of focus and skill-sets happened?

If my character asks your character, you should be able to tell my character. Yes, you might lie, or you might refuse to answer, or whatever ... but you should be able to tell how it came about, because you as a player should know.

That is really all ciretose is requiring: that there's actually some story behind it. How in the world is that unreasonable?


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What happens if his reason doesn't satisfy the GM? Are you going to say, "Your RP is invalid, multi-class denied"? Will you have a big rubber stamp with red ink slap [DENIED] over their class table on their sheet? If you are going to do that, then you're basically enforcing your personal whims over the other players. The GM's job is to adjudicate the rules and narrate the story. If you want to do something like limit what and how players can multi-class, don't just drop it on them in the middle, establish it from the start. If you're not going to discriminate between any reason, then the reasoning itself becomes moot. Sure, having some kind of back story will give you plot hooks as the GM, but the player isn't obligated to provide that. He can RP to a greater or lesser degree at his discretion, not yours. Put the shoe on the other foot; say you're the player and you come up with this wonderful backstory as to why and how your Wizard came to gain a level in Monk and your GM cuts you off at the third word with, "Yeah, don't care, bored now... RANDOM ENCOUNTER!" You'd likely be pretty offended that he won't let you RP at the level you feel comfortable with, right? Not everyone is going to RP it up like. A lot of people are more interested in the game as a system and will refrain from a lot of the RP. Are you saying that that is "badwrongfun"? If that's the case, then it's just a matter of one side saying, "enforced roleplay is badwrongfun" and the other side saying, "lack of roleplay is badwrongfun". What an interesting game. It seems the only way to win is to not play.

You don't need a backstory to explain how you learned a language when you gain a rank in Linguistics. You just know it and nothing in the rules states any prerequisites. Same goes for taking a rank in, say, Knowledge (Royalty) while in the depths of a dungeon. Or a rank of Survival in the comfort of your own home. Would you require an explanation of how he gained another rank of Wizard when there obviously aren't any study materials at hand to research new spells? How, exactly, did you learn that Toughness feat at lvl 3 which instantly boosts your physical stamina; describe your training regimen and if I don't approve, you cannot take the feat. If something within the rules and/or story permit him to permanently become a Dragon, and he satisfies the mechanical requirements, are you going to say, "Yeah, you have all the mechanical prereqs... but I don't like the story concept of you having that power so *GMFIATINYOFACE*. As I said... that's a very good way to find yourself a foreveralone GM. But then, you can roll up a party of GMPCs and just play your campaign with yourself and none of your players will ever disagree with you.


mplindustries wrote:

Let me test the waters--in 3.5, I once played a character that ended the campaign as a Spellthief 1/Sorcerer 2/Monk 1/Paladin 2/Abjurant Champion 5/Swiftblade 5.

What sort of story would you require for this character?

Depends on the campaign. I've been in campaigns where very little explanation would be required; I've been in campaigns where a great deal would be required.


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My personal opinion is that the best excuse for any multi-classing is to quote "because I'm batman".


My personal position is this. The more the decision makes my eyebrows lift and adds to the potential workload of others at the table, the more it behooves you to provide some kind of explanation in order to prevent misunderstandings in the future; what will make my eyebrows lift or add extra work is dependent on the campaign and the other people at the table, and to a certain extent, though a much lesser one, the character's own history. I generally won't ban you from doing it, but if there is a potential disconnect in playing styles or expectations, I as a DM want to know about it sooner rather than later, and even if there isn't, the more information you give me, the more I can do to make it work in-game without a lot of extra work on anybody's part. Ultimately, I expect as much communication from you as you expect from me; if you don't need any extra information from me, I'll be good with no explanation from you; if you do want as much information from me as possible, I expect the same courtesy in return.

Liberty's Edge

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Kazaan wrote:
What happens if his reason doesn't satisfy the GM? Are you going to say, "Your RP is invalid, multi-class denied"?

Since the world is mine to present to the players, if the player is not willing to behave as if the world actually exists and has events, rules, and constraints, yes, I'm going to deny it.

In the real world, I'd suggest delaying it until there's some way it fits within the world -- and my world's rules are much, much more than the game's rules; it's incredible that this even needs to be said -- or suggest other alternatives, or, if I can think of something, suggest possibilities to make it work now.

Quote:
The GM's job is to adjudicate the rules and narrate the story.

My job? Really? Given the level of effort and dedication the "GM's job" entails, compared to the other players, what do I get out of it, compared to the other players?

Quote:
If you want to do something like limit what and how players can multi-class, don't just drop it on them in the middle, establish it from the start.

Again, the rules of the world -- including the current in-game situation -- are vastly more voluminous (and sometimes more restrictive) than the rules of the game.

A perfectly reasonable and explainable advancement choice in one situation can be unreasonable and bizarre in another, just as a perfectly reasonable and explainable action choice -- hitting a big dude with a sword -- in one situation (a dungeon's anti-paladin) can be unreasonable and bizarre in another (a tavern's barkeep).

A perfectly reasonable and explainable action in one situation can even be impossible in another situation, and it doesn't matter that the rules allow you to do that action, because the world does not.

The implication of the post I'm responding to that anything allowed by the rules must be allowed by the in-game environment and situation is ... well, it's somethin'.


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I think I have a good example of a player making a build choice that made absolutely no sense in game.

He was playing a Warforged Monk, and his character was a very simple and silent murder machine. He was just in the game to punch and kill things, and we just played around him and made up stories about the amazing things the mute Warforged was capable of (There are no Gods in Eberron because he beat them all to death, for example.)

Anyway, one day he read the Expanded Psionics Handbook (This was 3.5) and decided that the Psychokineticist was really cool and he wanted to punch things while on fire. There was no lead up to this at all, he just got the feat and skills on his next level and then he was suddenly a fire bender.

The conversation about his new class level went something like this:

DM: How is he able to control fire now?

Warforged Player: I don't know, I just thought it would be cool.

Other Player: He controls fire because he's awesome like that!

Another Player: He doesn't need training to control fire, fire already knows better than to cross him!

DM: Sweetness.

*Jokes about the Warforged and his legendary feats.*

It wasn't a big deal, the rest of the world went on fine and everyone else had characters that made sense and blended into the world well. We worked around the Warforged character and played our characters off his stoic badassery. I think he even got rocket fists at one point, because the player thought it would be cool and we thought it was funny.

The Warforged player, at the time, didn't really care about roleplaying, he just liked the numbers and being a really cool flaming metal death machine. Asking him to justify his levels was completely unnecessary, we played around his unknown past and the game was quite fun and interesting.

Making sense will always be sacrificed on the Altar of Player Happiness at our games. I wouldn't demand anyone else game that way, but I'll also resist any attempt to tell me we were doing it wrong. Which you may or may not have been doing, but that's how it comes off in some of the posts. Possibly just taking things out of context though, I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth.

Liberty's Edge

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Wanting the game to make sense is an unreasonably high bar?
It's a Schroedinger's Bar. You never know exactly where anyone's bar is until you actually hit it.

Except you can't even cite an example of a time when a player has ever needed the leeway of not making sense.

Why are we setting the expectations lower than anything you have ever encountered?


Jeff Wilder wrote:

Let's just ask it this way:

(1) Last level you were a barbarian. This level you became a wizard.

(2) Is it reasonable for a GM to require you to be able to explain, truthfully and in character, how that remarkable change of focus and skill-sets happened?

If my character asks your character, you should be able to tell my character. Yes, you might lie, or you might refuse to answer, or whatever ... but you should be able to tell how it came about, because you as a player should know.

That is really all ciretose is requiring: that there's actually some story behind it. How in the world is that unreasonable?

Easy, the ancient forces that empowered his body with rage (since I'm assuming your player uses standard fluff of rage is anger and not a mental focus) have decided he can now create greater effects.

But he must meditate on this tablet (reflavored book) in order to use them each day.


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My question is...

Why does this matter? If you are playing under me, I will make sure you know what option are available for play, and what ruleset I use. If I am playing under another GM, I expect the same. Why do people feel the need to police campaigns that they are not a part of? If you think I am "doing it wrong" then play elsewhere. What we (the entire playgroup) expect is fully developed and agreed upon. Who are you to say that it's wrong?

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