On Will Saves And Narrative Agency


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

1 to 50 of 165 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Consider this:

What happens to the narrative if you describe failed will saves not as breached mental defenses, but as a failure of character, a submission to temptation or flaws? That the character chooses, of their own will (as determined by the roll of the die), to take the worse option?

In this case, the will save represents not just a psychic wall against effects, but strength of character. What kind of game would arise from this idea?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Umbral Reaver wrote:

Consider this:

What happens to the narrative if you describe failed will saves not as breached mental defenses, but as a failure of character, a submission to temptation or flaws? That the character chooses, of their own will (as determined by the roll of the die), to take the worse option?

In this case, the will save represents not just a psychic wall against effects, but strength of character. What kind of game would arise from this idea?

A self-contradictory one. You're forcing a character to choose of their own free will what they would, absent your force, freely choose not to do.

Basically, any time you say "no, your character chooses ..." you are lying.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:

Consider this:

What happens to the narrative if you describe failed will saves not as breached mental defenses, but as a failure of character, a submission to temptation or flaws? That the character chooses, of their own will (as determined by the roll of the die), to take the worse option?

In this case, the will save represents not just a psychic wall against effects, but strength of character. What kind of game would arise from this idea?

A self-contradictory one. You're forcing a character to choose of their own free will what they would, absent your force, freely choose not to do.

Basically, any time you say "no, your character chooses ..." you are lying.

You are forcing the player to have their character make some choice. Players are not characters, so there is no contradiction.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Umbral Reaver wrote:

Consider this:

What happens to the narrative if you describe failed will saves not as breached mental defenses, but as a failure of character, a submission to temptation or flaws? That the character chooses, of their own will (as determined by the roll of the die), to take the worse option?

In this case, the will save represents not just a psychic wall against effects, but strength of character. What kind of game would arise from this idea?

You'd better make atonement a 1st-level spell, because you're going to have player-involuntary alignment shifts and fallen paladins all over the place. Other than that it sounds interesting.


11 people marked this as a favorite.
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:


You'd better make atonement a 1st-level spell, because you're going to have player-involuntary alignment shifts and fallen paladins all over the place. Other than that it sounds interesting.

I think it sounds like a train wreck into a burning chemical plant next to a burning tire depot. Essentially, it's an arbitrary exercise of DM whim to make players feel even worse about bad rolls than they already do.

It's also a strong infringement on player autonomy. If you want to control the choices that my character makes, then just do so. Call me when your novel is published.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:

Consider this:

What happens to the narrative if you describe failed will saves not as breached mental defenses, but as a failure of character, a submission to temptation or flaws? That the character chooses, of their own will (as determined by the roll of the die), to take the worse option?

In this case, the will save represents not just a psychic wall against effects, but strength of character. What kind of game would arise from this idea?

A self-contradictory one. You're forcing a character to choose of their own free will what they would, absent your force, freely choose not to do.

Basically, any time you say "no, your character chooses ..." you are lying.

You are forcing the player to have their character make some choice. Players are not characters, so there is no contradiction.

The game master's authority does not extend to forcing players to do anything, so, no.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Honestly I'd be ok with it so long as there was a strong theme for this failure of character. I.e. submitting willingly to a succubus. It's reminiscent of how intelligent items work, and is generally in-line with the idea of will saves anyways ("your resistance to mental effects"). Other than the fallen paladin issue it sounds like a solid basis for a high-rp game.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

So... when a character has the panicked condition... and the player is a jerk and says "I keep fighting!" and the GM says "no, you run away like the rules say," what do you call that?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

To be fair Orfamay Quest is correct, we do not have any authority over players at all as GMs. That said, if players don't wish to abide by our rulings (however accurate or inaccurate they may be) we don't have to accept them at our tables.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't control the players' actions and generally trust them to make the correct decisions when under mental duress, like panic or mind control or confusion. It's a game where we play characters that get attacked, both physically and mentally. I think if we as players can accept getting stabbed and taking 1d8 damage, then we can accept and rp being panicked or mind control. I just let them keep control over the character. It's generally not an issue at my table.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I haven't actually played a game like this. It was simply something I thought worth discussing, simply for what kind of vastly different atmosphere it produces. Naturally, the players would have to buy into it from the start and be aware of what it means. If the players are okay with it, the complaint about player agency is a non-issue.

Instead, what kind of game does it produce if we assume GM and players are all okay with using this?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
So... when a character has the panicked condition... and the player is a jerk and says "I keep fighting!"

And then I say: "Get the f~%! out of my game".


Rub-Eta wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
So... when a character has the panicked condition... and the player is a jerk and says "I keep fighting!"
And then I say: "Get the f$+% out of my game".

Heh. Basically such things are already "your character does what I think they ought to because of that roll/rule or you're out of the game," which qualifies as forcing the player. Umbral's just adding to the set (and warning the players beforehand).


You're putting words in my mouth. And I really don't care about your definitions. If a player won't play the game, that player needs to leave.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Instead, what kind of game does it produce if we assume GM and players are all okay with using this?

Honestly, I'm really not sure there'd be any significant change. The only thing that is majorly changed is that character narrative is taken away from the players and more open to interference by the GM. The players will have to be willing to spontaneously rebuild their view of the character, and you are essentially creating a dissonance between the character that is in the game and the character that the player is trying to play. It's kind of like playing Everyone is John.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Rub-Eta wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
So... when a character has the panicked condition... and the player is a jerk and says "I keep fighting!"
And then I say: "Get the f$+% out of my game".
Heh. Basically such things are already "your character does what I think they ought to because of that roll/rule or you're out of the game," which qualifies as forcing the player. Umbral's just adding to the set (and warning the players beforehand).

Not at all. In fact, the effect on the characters is minimal. In a typical game, vampire uses dominate person to make a PC do a morally reprehensible thing like order red wine with fish, the character fails the save, the character does so.

Umbral Reaver's change is purely in the player's head and has nothing to do with in-game character behavior.. A vampire uses dominate person to make a PC do a morally reprehensible thing like order red wine with fish, the character fails the save, the character does so. But now the reason is not because the character was compelled to do so, the character does so because the GM forced the character to have a moral flaw that was not part of the player's vision or desire.

Basically, Umbral Reaver is saying "I don't want anyone to play a paragon of virtue in this game. But rather than asking nicely that you not be Boy Scouts, I'm just going to make you all dark-and-gritty characters irrespective of whether or not you designed and are trying to play a Boy Scout."


Johnnycat93 wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Instead, what kind of game does it produce if we assume GM and players are all okay with using this?
The only thing that is majorly change is that character narrative is taken away from the players and more open to interference by the GM. The players will have to be willing to spontaneously rebuild their view of the character, and you are essentially creating a dissonance between the character that is in the game and the character that the player is trying to play. It's kind of like playing Everyone is John.

This. It creates a significant negative with no corresponding positive at all.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Rub-Eta wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
So... when a character has the panicked condition... and the player is a jerk and says "I keep fighting!"
And then I say: "Get the f$+% out of my game".
Heh. Basically such things are already "your character does what I think they ought to because of that roll/rule or you're out of the game," which qualifies as forcing the player. Umbral's just adding to the set (and warning the players beforehand).

Panicked is a condition defined in the overall governing the rules for the game. In summary, a creature with this condition must flee from the source of the fear. If a player contradicts this, then they are in the wrong. However, as long as they comply with the above then they are not obligated to go through any other involuntary actions. That is, the GM does not have grounds to say that a character with the panicked condition wets their pants, denounces their god, or attacks their friends in a wild attempt to escape.

Likewise, failing a Will save should not serve as grounds to permanently alter some unrelated aspect of a character (you failed a save against calm emotions so now you can't feel love).

What you're advocating is a violation of a players agency and an abuse of power on the part of the GM. I certainly wouldn't tolerate it as a player or as a GM.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Johnnycat93 wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Instead, what kind of game does it produce if we assume GM and players are all okay with using this?
The only thing that is majorly change is that character narrative is taken away from the players and more open to interference by the GM. The players will have to be willing to spontaneously rebuild their view of the character, and you are essentially creating a dissonance between the character that is in the game and the character that the player is trying to play. It's kind of like playing Everyone is John.
This. It creates a significant negative with no corresponding positive at all.

I think it could work for a theme game or a mystery game where players are simultaneously pursuing a goal while finding out things that were previously unknown about themselves. Or, a game where the "players" are alien entities possessing the bodies of their respective characters whose personalities, in turn, rebel or seep through to the surface. Like the Bureau: X-Com Declassified.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A character can voluntarily fail any save they want, so you can't really explain a failed save as the character choosing to do so since they did not choose to. If the player wants the character to fail the save, they can do so.
You can, however, describe failed saves logically in-context as something happening. For example:
Character fails Will save
GM: "You are distracted with concern for your best friend being hit by the bandit's mace, and you can't focus on fighting off the mental effects of the spell."
It actually might make players feel BETTER about failing a save if it makes sense in context. Just don't go using that as an excuse to auto-fail; I'm saying to do this AFTER the save has already failed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I really dont see how it would make sense.
You fail a will save vs a sleep spell, and you are now just a lazy person who has no problems leaving his friends to die in combat without helping them, and also does not care about their own life. There are not to many other reasons to take a nap in the middle of combat.<----For Pathfinder it just doesnt fit the game unless you change all will save spells to do something like "reveal a person's true character by giving them the opportunity to commit to their vices". But that changes the game by so much that the spell descriptions would have to change.


wraithstrike wrote:

I really dont see how it would make sense.

You fail a will save vs a sleep spell, and you are now just a lazy person who has no problems leaving his friends to die in combat without helping them, and also does not care about their own life. There are not to many other reasons to take a nap in the middle of combat.<----For Pathfinder it just doesnt fit the game unless you change all will save spells to do something like "reveal a person's true character by giving them the opportunity to commit to their vices". But that changes the game by so much that the spell descriptions would have to change.

Exactly. A Will save is fighting back against an invasive effect that forces something to happen. Even the Compulsion descriptor is forcibly changing the character's decision rather than just saying "do this" and the character is an ass so they do.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Everyone else has touched on exactly why this is a bad idea, so I guess I'll answer this question.

Umbral Reaver wrote:


Instead, what kind of game does it produce if we assume GM and players are all okay with using this?

Every character they make has to be an amoral a&@+@$%. Full stop. That is the only way this works.

Because say they get Dominated. The caster says "Torture your friends and family to death."

In a normal game, the character gets another save, with a bonus, because this is against his nature. If it passes, they are free. If it fails, they are compelled to do it.

In your proposed game, the extra save makes no sense. Because what you're proposing is that NOTHING is against the character's nature. Should they fail the save, it is something they always wanted to do in the first place. Torture and murder are evil, having a predisposition not just to do it, but WANT to do it, makes the character evil.

You cannot play a game with good (and arguably even neutral) characters with this. And that's just the tip of the Compulsion based iceberg.

It doesn't sound like a fun time to me. And I LIKE playing evil characters.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Games about fighting your inner demons and games about fighting your, well, exterior demons are both perfectly good uses of a tabletop gaming session. I'm not sure it will work that well to try to combine the two. That is, the more you have the players struggle with their character flaws (which is fun for a lot of people) the less you're apt to actually get players to advance in the sorts of stories that Pathfinder and its ilk generally revolve around.

There's just not a considerable amount of rules support (though it's getting better) for players to struggle with the strength of their character. After all, most people will rather just take power attack or precise shot than whatever theoretical feat makes your mental/emotional breaks less dire.

I think to make this work you're going to have to add so much stuff, and throw away so much other stuff, that you're not really playing a recognizable form of Pathfinder anymore and you might be better off playing a system that is actually set up to support this kind of game.

Liberty's Edge

9 people marked this as a favorite.

The thing is, this is basically victim blaming. 'Oh, if you were strong enough that wouldn't have happened to you. Having your free will violated is a failure of character on your part.'

I mean, it's non-real victims and effects, sure, but the logic gets really disturbingly close to a lot of real world attitudes that lead to things like honor killings of women who've been raped. And it's not some character in the world doing that, but the setting itself saying that such an attitude is correct.

It's much the same situation as a setting where all women get -4 Int because they're stupider. You can argue that it's true in-setting not in the real world, but by making it so, you're implicitly endorsing a real-world attitude I find utterly unpleasant and awful.

It's ugly and I want no part of it.

On a more purely game related note, all players in a traditional RPG have is their character's choices. They don't control the world, or even really control what happens to their character, all they control is what their character chooses to do. If they haven't got that they haven't got anything, so flat out taking it away is bad and not fun at all for the vast majority of players.

Now, if you want to set up a system where persuasion and social skills, or even the characters stated internal baggage have a direct mechanical influence on the character and what they can do, there are plenty of games for that (Apocalypse World has a great system for manipulating other PCs, FATE is very good at making people live up to their stated personality traits), but those systems don't work like failed Will Saves in Pathfinder. At all.

They tend towards more 'carrot and stick' approaches, where going with what someone persuaded you to do (or what your own impulses say) is mechanically rewarded, and not doing so is mechanically punished. But almost all the time, you do have the choice to refuse (FATE occasionally leaves you without that recourse, but only if you aren't careful and are seriously not working the system right, and even then only rarely).

Both of those games also give the players more narrative control of the world, which makes occasionally having less of it of their characters less of a blow.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:

The thing is, this is basically victim blaming. 'Oh, if you were strong enough that wouldn't have happened to you. Having your free will violated is a failure of character on your part.'

I didn't want to go there, but yeah. Pretty much.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Umbral Reaver wrote:

Consider this:

What happens to the narrative if you describe failed will saves not as breached mental defenses, but as a failure of character, a submission to temptation or flaws? That the character chooses, of their own will (as determined by the roll of the die), to take the worse option?

In this case, the will save represents not just a psychic wall against effects, but strength of character. What kind of game would arise from this idea?

i tried to do this when two character's were having a challenge of wills agaisnt each other in-game. The loser said something along the lines of "you can't force my character to do anything". so, I was like whatever, and let them waste another 2 months in a staring contest...

i'm not joking btw, this happened.

mechanically, I wouldn't make this a rule because it already adds onto the overloaded will save.

if I were to do something like this, it's be a new save based upon charisma.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:


It's much the same situation as a setting where all women get -4 Int because they're stupider. You can argue that it's true in-setting not in the real world, but by making it so, you're implicitly endorsing a real-world attitude I find utterly unpleasant and awful.

I'm actually curious, would you be fine with sexual-dimorphism if the only races that were different between genders were non-humans? Like catfolk women have a +2 charisma, while men have a +2 intelligence?

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bandw2 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:


It's much the same situation as a setting where all women get -4 Int because they're stupider. You can argue that it's true in-setting not in the real world, but by making it so, you're implicitly endorsing a real-world attitude I find utterly unpleasant and awful.
I'm actually curious, would you be fine with sexual-dimorphism if the only races that were different between genders were non-humans? Like catfolk women have a +2 charisma, while men have a +2 intelligence?

Different Int scores still have a few unfortunate implications I'd generally prefer to avoid.

That said, Lashunta exist, and I'm fine with them and similar examples of extreme sexual dimorphism in non-human species.


Bandw2 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:


It's much the same situation as a setting where all women get -4 Int because they're stupider. You can argue that it's true in-setting not in the real world, but by making it so, you're implicitly endorsing a real-world attitude I find utterly unpleasant and awful.
I'm actually curious, would you be fine with sexual-dimorphism if the only races that were different between genders were non-humans? Like catfolk women have a +2 charisma, while men have a +2 intelligence?

Speaking for myself only, it would depend a lot on the justification, and how closely it tied into the themes of the campaign. As a general rule, as it was in first edition AD&D, it's pretty uncomfortable-making. It also depends on how common the dimorphism is. Lashunta are rare and unusual enough that they don't influence most campaigns (I've never actually seen one in play, either as a player character or as an NPC).

On the other hand, the proposed change makes everyone in the universe, without exception, "an amoral a%+%~%*. Full stop." And on a fairly regular basis, at that. it's hard to avoid having to make (and by extension, fail) saving throws. There's also no justification given -- perhaps Umbral Reaver has something clever in mind that would overcome the inherent moral leprosy of this idea.

But somehow I doubt it.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
So... when a character has the panicked condition... and the player is a jerk and says "I keep fighting!" and the GM says "no, you run away like the rules say," what do you call that?

I call that a poorly designed rule that prevents a character from being brave, for what is bravery without fear? That is, a Paladin cannot choose to be brave. They are immune to fear, and so there's nothing to overcome. Make it a scaled effect of shaken, and now while you encourage the player to run (or stay out of the fight) by larger combat penalties, whether the character flees or keeps fighting is the character's (and player's) choice.

So that kind of reflects my opinion on the larger topic. The GM is not there to decide what the characters do, only to create situations for them to respond to. The players play the characters, the GM plays the world. The GM hardly needs more influence than that.


Can player choose if his character feels suggestion caused by Suggestion spell is reasonable or not, thus affecting the save roll?


I'd allow it if they made a reasonable case.


Envall wrote:
Can player choose if his character feels suggestion caused by Suggestion spell is reasonable or not, thus affecting the save roll?

This is an oft-discussed question at a lot of tables, and there's a lot of room for (rather heated) GM/player disagreement. The fact that the proposed house rule is being discussed in the same context as other potentially campaign-breaking questions should indicate just how bad an idea it is.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Envall wrote:
Can player choose if his character feels suggestion caused by Suggestion spell is reasonable or not, thus affecting the save roll?

They certainly should be able to do so in most cases, yes. Though the GM might overrule that if they're abusing this to say everything is unreasonable.


"On Will Saves and Narrative Agency."

Or:

"On Removing Player's Narrative Agency on a Failed Will Save."


Envall wrote:
Can player choose if his character feels suggestion caused by Suggestion spell is reasonable or not, thus affecting the save roll?

As I mentioned before, any character/player can choose to fail a save if they want unless they have something specifically saying they can't. If a player, for narrative purposes, thinks that their character would go along with the suggestion enough to auto-fail, that's the player's choice.

I think deciding whether the character thinks something is reasonable or not for the purposes of the bonus on the save would be a joint decision between the GM and the player.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I always figured that "you fail a save against a spell that makes you do something" ought to be interpreted as an acting cue to portray someone in that situation.

Just like if you're magicked into becoming a chicken you would start doing chicken things, if you were magicked into believing your enemies are you friends you would start doing those things.

This sort of presupposes that players are interested in playing a character in a collaborative storytelling game, rather than winning a fight in a wargame, however.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Will saves as mental discipline is an interesting concept, but should really only be done as something the GM and player worked up together, sort of like compels in fate.

Otherwise if you have the GM dictating how a character feels or behaves you really don't even need players at that point, the GM could just go write a book.

PossibleCabbage wrote:

I always figured that "you fail a save against a spell that makes you do something" ought to be interpreted as an acting cue to portray someone in that situation.

Just like if you're magicked into becoming a chicken you would start doing chicken things, if you were magicked into believing your enemies are you friends you would start doing those things.

This sort of presupposes that players are interested in playing a character in a collaborative storytelling game, rather than winning a fight in a wargame, however.

That doesn't really have anything to do with the topic though.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It IS an acting cue, because the player chooses what they do when they've been affected. It doesn't change WHY they did it, however (They failed their save.)

The subject at hand would mean that the character suddenly has some character flaw they didn't have before, such as wanting to murder all their friends the entire time.

It takes player agency away from the player whenever they fail a Will Save. It's not about winning a fight.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Good grief. I wasn't expecting this degree of hostility. Sure, it's a bad idea. I give up.

Liberty's Edge

PossibleCabbage wrote:

I always figured that "you fail a save against a spell that makes you do something" ought to be interpreted as an acting cue to portray someone in that situation.

Just like if you're magicked into becoming a chicken you would start doing chicken things, if you were magicked into believing your enemies are you friends you would start doing those things.

Sure...but the argument isn't that they shouldn't roleplay that. They should. The argument is that they are magically compelled to do those things, they aren't doing them simply because of a failure of character on their part.

And that's a relevant roleplaying consideration in its own right.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
This sort of presupposes that players are interested in playing a character in a collaborative storytelling game, rather than winning a fight in a wargame, however.

Nobody is arguing that perspective at all.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I always figured that "you fail a save against a spell that makes you do something" ought to be interpreted as an acting cue to portray someone in that situation.

Just like if you're magicked into becoming a chicken you would start doing chicken things, if you were magicked into believing your enemies are you friends you would start doing those things.

I don't think that's really a point under discussion here. The effect of the failed save on the character's behavior is the same under any of the alternatives under consideration. The question is one of the motivations of the characters, which is almost purely under the player's control. And that's why it's one of narrative agency.

If the player decides that the character wants to fail a save, she can.

If the player decides that the character does not want to fail a save, she may fail anyway.

But under the proposed house rule, the player does not decide whether or not the character wants to fail the save. The character's motivations, and indeed, basic morals, are no longer under the player's control.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Good grief. I wasn't expecting this degree of hostility. Sure, it's a bad idea. I give up.

It's not hostility, it's discussion.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Umbral Reaver wrote:

Consider this:

What happens to the narrative if you describe failed will saves not as breached mental defenses, but as a failure of character, a submission to temptation or flaws? That the character chooses, of their own will (as determined by the roll of the die), to take the worse option?

In this case, the will save represents not just a psychic wall against effects, but strength of character. What kind of game would arise from this idea?

If it was a fairly standard game otherwise, and this applied absolutely in all cases, I'd find it hard to roleplay, as it would necessitate adjusting my character concept to try to justify the failures, or having a loose enough idea to not have preconceptions about it. That, or designing my character to be an extremely wishy-washy jerk with very little in the way of principles, goals, or sense of self.

I design characters with moral flaws, to a significant degree. But they're generally specific ones. The same character failing a will save against Murderous Command, Cause Fear, Demand Offering, and Oppressive Boredom purely based on their own temptations would likely either be very poorly written imo, or have some serious mental health problems.

Now, if it's described as the character's own flaws and temptations being augmented or encouraged, that's another thing. Same way people will do thing while drunk that they won't while sober. Yes, it's still their own failure to control themselves, it's still their own impulses, but I think most of us recognize the intoxication plays a part too. If stuff that targets Will saves is portrayed along the same lines as being drunk, I'd be more alright with that, but my previous point still stands.

Personal flaws are still going to be specific and make sense. A very drunk person might steal somebody's purse, but would they steal a piece of soiled cardboard out of the dumpster? They might hit on somebody, but would they hit on somebody they disliked and weren't attracted to? They might be willing to follow someone else's instructions, but maybe not if those instructions were "go behead your sister" unless they didn't get along with their sister very much, and if that was the case, they probably wouldn't also agree to their sister asking them to give her their car and wallet.

Failed Will saves all being attributed solely to the character means a high chance of that kind of behavior, possibly without even the factor of limited mental ability, from either drinking or magic.

But in limited, personalized instances? If I've described my character as cowardly, or even just not particularly brave, or the GM has reason to think so, I'd absolutely be okay with them failing a Will save against Cause Fear being described as them falling prey to their temptations. And might well describe it that way myself even if the GM didn't. But if they also failed a Will save against, say, Compulsive Liar, when the character in question had no particular temptation to be dishonest, never did so, and wasn't even any good at lying, then I'd be a little miffed if I had to reimagine the character because whoops, rolled a 2, guess they decided to lie about this trivial thing and aren't that honest after all, and now how should I reconcile that with the time they got the whole party into trouble blabbing stuff to enemies.

I'd also think better of the idea in a game with very limited magic, at least very limited magic being used by NPCs.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

here are some more grey area questions.

Can i make my player's character blink, if they haven't blinked in 10 days?

Can i make a player's character drop their weapon when they fall asleep?

Can i, for whatever reason, make a player's character throw up?

Can i force a player to breathe if they're holding their breathe for too long?


Bandw2 wrote:

here are some more grey area questions.

Can i make my player's character blink, if they haven't blinked in 10 days?

Can i make a player's character drop their weapon when they fall asleep?

Can i, for whatever reason, make a player's character throw up?

Can i force a player to breathe if they're holding their breathe for too long?

Not if you're doing so with the intention to remove the player's agency.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

What if we re-flavor the question as:

What happens to the narrative if you describe failed will saves not as breached mental defenses, but as a failure (usually temporary) subversion of character, a submission to temptation or flaws? That the character finds, as a result of the failed save, that they desire to take the worse option of their own will (as determined by the roll of the die), for the duration of the effect (at the end of which they remember everything clearly including their motivations for doing so, but within their normal moral framework)?


Trekkie90909 wrote:

What if we re-flavor the question as:

What happens to the narrative if you describe failed will saves not as breached mental defenses, but as a failure (usually temporary) subversion of character, a submission to temptation or flaws? That the character finds, as a result of the failed save, that they desire to take the worse option of their own will (as determined by the roll of the die), for the duration of the effect (at the end of which they remember everything clearly including their motivations for doing so, but within their normal moral framework)?

The paladin suddenly decided to murder their friends at the behest of a seductive winged lady demon because of a temporary submission to temptation?

At least the paladin would only submit to temptation about 1 in 5 times they get asked...

Yeah, still sounds &*%$ing stupid.


Trekkie90909 wrote:

What if we re-flavor the question as:

What happens to the narrative if you describe failed will saves not as breached mental defenses, but as a failure (usually temporary) subversion of character, a submission to temptation or flaws? That the character finds, as a result of the failed save, that they desire to take the worse option of their own will (as determined by the roll of the die), for the duration of the effect (at the end of which they remember everything clearly including their motivations for doing so, but within their normal moral framework)?

If it's a magical compulsion, that's fine. Saying it's just what the character does even though the player doesn't decide that is not fine.

1 to 50 of 165 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / On Will Saves And Narrative Agency All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.