Roleplay vs Rollplay


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

thejeff wrote:


I should just optimize more, for example, even if I don't enjoy it.

What is so bad about optimizing that you do not enjoy it ? (Honest question BTW)


The one rule of thumb that I feel generally separates the story people from the game people is "how much fighting there is in an ordinary session."

When people optimize, it's generally not "be really good at attending fancy society parties" since there just aren't a lot of rules for these things; people generally optimize to be good in a fight since there are tons of rules to handle those situations.

But the story-oriented folks are likely going to get a lot more out of "attending a party" than "fighting some orcs" so are more keen to do the former than the latter (indeed will sometimes do everything they can to avoid the latter, because the ratio of "interest" to "time it takes" is not in their favor).

If you signpost "this game is light on combat and thus does not use experience points" you will probably select efficiently for the sorts of people who will like that sort of thing the most.


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Java Man wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
thejeff wrote:

So is there an term covering the same ground, but without the negative connotations?

I do find it a useful distinction to make, even if there isn't an absolute distinction between the two.

OK, let's say you switch out 'roll-player' for 'optimizer', which is usually less annoying to the people you're labelling.

Even so, by framing the conversation you seem to be saying, "The Stormwind Fallacy is not a fallacy. Everyone is either an optimizer or a role-player. If you've made an optimized character, you're likely to be bad at role-playing. We are having a discussion built around this assumption."

So, is there any non-offensive way of stating my preference for games with low rollplay and high roleplay or is the mere idea that I prefer one to the other in itself offensive?

I should just optimize more, for example, even if I don't enjoy it.
So you prefer a more story driven and less mechanic heavy game? Or perhaps a more immersive and rules-lite experience? Sounds valid and acceptable to me, that would tell me whether or not you might be a good fit for my table.

I'm a big fan of stuff like this. The main difference here is that you are asking for a specific type of behavior, not a specific type of person. It's a major difference, because it acknowledges that people can change their behavior.


thejeff wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
thejeff wrote:

So is there an term covering the same ground, but without the negative connotations?

I do find it a useful distinction to make, even if there isn't an absolute distinction between the two.

OK, let's say you switch out 'roll-player' for 'optimizer', which is usually less annoying to the people you're labelling.

Even so, by framing the conversation you seem to be saying, "The Stormwind Fallacy is not a fallacy. Everyone is either an optimizer or a role-player. If you've made an optimized character, you're likely to be bad at role-playing. We are having a discussion built around this assumption."

So, is there any non-offensive way of stating my preference for games with low rollplay and high roleplay or is the mere idea that I prefer one to the other in itself offensive?

I should just optimize more, for example, even if I don't enjoy it.

"I prefer to focus on storytelling and roleplaying, rather than mechanics and character power"?


Quoting myself once to bring this sub-topic to the second page.

kyrt-ryder wrote:
thejeff wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:


I am not going for the title 'nitpicker of the month' here, rather I'd like to see the discussion move beyond binary 'they are totally exclusive' vs. 'there is no contradiction at all'.

Fair point. I guess I could say that calling someone by a phrase with a negative connotation can be taken as an insult even when none is intended so it is better to not use the word or phrase.

I would prefer to say that the person using the term should be very clear to avoid confusions, but one person's "clear" is another person's "still an insult".

So is there an term covering the same ground, but without the negative connotations?

I do find it a useful distinction to make, even if there isn't an absolute distinction between the two.

Mechanics [or engineers] and artists.

One works in laws and forces, one works with external appeal. There is nothing pre enting someone from being good [or bad] at both, and sometimes the two skills are. Combined into highly efficient, powerful and beautiful works of art.


Athaleon wrote:
And I always thought Monty Haul referred to a specific kind of DM who is too generous (with loot, and in general leniency) to seriously challenge a party.

I always viewed it as a campaign style, not a GM style.

As with any other style, certain GM's will be more drawn to it than others. Or maybe it's just an alternate game run when part of the group cancels out on the Friday night ultra-gritty, low-magic E6 game.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

The one rule of thumb that I feel generally separates the story people from the game people is "how much fighting there is in an ordinary session."

When people optimize, it's generally not "be really good at attending fancy society parties" since there just aren't a lot of rules for these things; people generally optimize to be good in a fight since there are tons of rules to handle those situations.

But the story-oriented folks are likely going to get a lot more out of "attending a party" than "fighting some orcs" so are more keen to do the former than the latter (indeed will sometimes do everything they can to avoid the latter, because the ratio of "interest" to "time it takes" is not in their favor).

If you signpost "this game is light on combat and thus does not use experience points" you will probably select efficiently for the sorts of people who will like that sort of thing the most.

And then there are optimizers like me who love dinner party roleplay and optimize for the sake of survivability and and conformation of concept.


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PK the Dragon wrote:
Java Man wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
thejeff wrote:

So is there an term covering the same ground, but without the negative connotations?

I do find it a useful distinction to make, even if there isn't an absolute distinction between the two.

OK, let's say you switch out 'roll-player' for 'optimizer', which is usually less annoying to the people you're labelling.

Even so, by framing the conversation you seem to be saying, "The Stormwind Fallacy is not a fallacy. Everyone is either an optimizer or a role-player. If you've made an optimized character, you're likely to be bad at role-playing. We are having a discussion built around this assumption."

So, is there any non-offensive way of stating my preference for games with low rollplay and high roleplay or is the mere idea that I prefer one to the other in itself offensive?

I should just optimize more, for example, even if I don't enjoy it.
So you prefer a more story driven and less mechanic heavy game? Or perhaps a more immersive and rules-lite experience? Sounds valid and acceptable to me, that would tell me whether or not you might be a good fit for my table.
I'm a big fan of stuff like this. The main difference here is that you are asking for a specific type of behavior, not a specific type of person. It's a major difference, because it acknowledges that people can change their behavior.

Exactly, I run and enjoy games across the whole spectrum, and the majority of my players participate in all of them. The majority that is, a few pass on either extreme. Not everything is for everyone, and an open description of what something is, and what we want as players and GMs can help us all maximize our fun. Now, I'm not advocating "Roleplayers need not apply" or somesuch foolery, just reasonable description of expectations.


I think the whole debate is false. They are two sides to the same coin and you really can't have one without the other. Pepe who say things like "I enjoy the social interaction, but don't enjoy the table top strategy of the combat side", or maybe don't like all the options and min/maxing of character creation are forgetting that ALL these things are EQUAL parts of the game!


Cheburn wrote:
If you include Power Attack in a build to increase your damage dealing capacity, you're exploiting a mechanic to gain an advantage for your character, as you should.

Eh. Not even worth using the word then.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
And then there are optimizers like me who love dinner party roleplay and optimize for the sake of survivability and and conformation of concept.

I mean, you get so many feats, class abilities, and skill points and most of them do not apply to dinner parties, so you have to put the rest elsewhere. The one thing that directly influences this game is that "Wargames" are directly baked into the D&D DNA, so there's a certain assumption that a certain amount of fighting will take place and your advancement will be primarily due to the events of the fighting.

One thing I'm thinking though is the last character I played in a non D&D style game. At character generation, she was designed to be good at sneaking and breaking into places and had absolutely no skill whatsoever at combat (though she was excellent at running away and escaping). That was a valid character idea in that kind of game since that game did not assume that your goals would be primarily accomplished by fighting; if you did the thing without fighting anybody it was just as good as doing the thing after a bloodbath.

So I think that if you're going to change the basic assumption of the game, regarding how much the game revolves around going into a place, fighting the antagonists, bypassing the traps and similar, and collecting the loot, you're going to want to let people know and the hardcore optimization set will most likely pass.


I disagree, they are all parts of the game, not necessarily equal in all individual games. The exact mix is the issue, which will vary from session to session as well. I don't think there is a debate on this fact, the issue the OP presented, if I read correctly, is the offensive nature of claiming one specific mix ratio is the correct one, and negativley labelling others who have a different preference.

Edit: responding to Jeremiah Dodson upthread, damn ninjas getting in the middle.


Matthew Downie wrote:
thejeff wrote:

So is there an term covering the same ground, but without the negative connotations?

I do find it a useful distinction to make, even if there isn't an absolute distinction between the two.

OK, let's say you switch out 'roll-player' for 'optimizer', which is usually less annoying to the people you're labelling.

Even so, by framing the conversation you seem to be saying, "The Stormwind Fallacy is not a fallacy. Everyone is either an optimizer or a role-player. If you've made an optimized character, you're likely to be bad at role-playing. We are having a discussion built around this assumption."

I view optimization as completely separate from roleplay vs rollplay.

You can rollplay with an unoptimized character.

Ferocious Fred: "I use diplomacy to convince the guard to let me past"
DM: "Roll it"
Diplomacy: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (14) - 1 = 13

And you can roleplay with an optimized character.

Sassy Sally: "Seductively approaching the guard, lust in her eyes, Sally breathes huskily in his ears, I know I really shouldn't be here, but Lord Pompous is really looking forward to my visit and I seem to have gotten lost. Gently trailing one finger along the guards cheek as she pouts and gazes in the guards eyes, Sally continues, I would be ever so appreciative if you could direct me towards my Lord's chambers.

DM: The guard looks around nervously, starting to perspire slightly, Bbbbbut I really can't do that mam, I'm not supposed to let anyone down this hallway without the lords clearance.

Sassy Sally: Pouting even more, Sally brushes her breasts against the guard. But he's waiting for me, and I could be really appreciative later if you could just help me out a teensy bit now.

DM: Give me a bluff check, with a +2 circumstance modifier.
Sassy Sally: Bluff: 1d20 + 17 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 17 + 2 = 22

Of course, all the verbage is just going to slow down a dungeon crawl with little to no social interaction. It that environment, you very well may just tell the DM your actions and roll for the result.


Story minded vs mechanics minded. Again, not that they are in any way opposites. But this is more clear what they are and makes if funny if people used it instead of the role vs roll.

It doesn't matter if you have bad stat if you are story minded and don't care about the mechanics of the game.


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It's also very much in the GM's benefit to be precise about behavior expected instead of resorting to shorthand lingo.

"ROLEplay not ROLLplay" tells me nothing except that you dislike powergamers. I can assume that the game will *probably* be more RP-heavy, but not necessarily- the GM could be simply using that shorthand to limit optimization so that the threats he throws at the players are more lethal. So I'm probably still going to build my character for survival, just in case. I'll dumb the character down a bit to ensure the GM doesn't get angry, but I'll still be assuming that combat will occur at some point and it might not be very well balanced.

If you say "low combat, dinner party game" or some other variation that clearly states what you want out of the game, on the other hand, now I can actually fully embrace your vision! Now I can break out the really fun builds (White Haired Witch here we come!) without regret! The result is players that are all on the same page.

So, everyone wins.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
And then there are optimizers like me who love dinner party roleplay and optimize for the sake of survivability and and conformation of concept.
I mean, you get so many feats, class abilities, and skill points and most of them do not apply to dinner parties, so you have to put the rest elsewhere.

You are assuming I feel a need to always use my feats and abilities. You are mistaken.

One excellent example is my character Tsuneh. Something of a Guts clone with massive weapon damage output and battlefield flexibility. His only social ability was the intimidate skill but that was more than enough to have fun with the roleplay in a 60/40 RP/Combat game.


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No one self-identifies as a rollplayer. It is used exclusively by people to describe other people. It otherizes them and is used to imply that they are not true "roleplayers". That is why is is offensive.

There is nothing correlating or negatively correlating liking mechanics and being good or bad at roleplaying. There is however a very strong correlation between those who look down on optimization and people who are very very bad at roleplaying in rules heavy systems. This is fairly simple to see why. Someone who understands that there are mechanics involved in making a roleplaying game come to life but actively refuses to engage with them is purposely making their own experience shallower.

This is similar to say analyzing media. If you don't want to bother analyzing media that's fine and you probably have decent enough taste just by understanding what is good and bad on a unconscious level without thinking about it. However there are also people who actively dislike analyses and will try to shout down those who are analyzing media. These people like those who feel the need to call others "rollplayers" tend to have very bad taste and wallow in terrible media. Take for instance the people who helped make Hatred a success. They actively find analyzing video games offensive and thus need to find a way to lash out at those who do, by buying a terribly designed and repugnant game. Similarly those who actively dislike engaging with a game's systems tend to create toxic and boring gaming environments.

This all of course has nothign to do with actually enjoying roleplaying. People who enjoy roleplaying and dislike complex mechanical systems but still understand them tend to just avoid mechanically complex games like Pathfinder. Those people can find plenty of enjoyment in OSR games or FATE or whatever other rules-lite game you have and as a result those game's communities are wonderful fonts of creativity. Unfortunately many continue playing Shadowrun, Dark Heresy, and Pathfinder and decide that abusing others for playing the games as they were designed is the better course of action. They will continue making the exact same cookie-cutter character as they have for years and claim that copying Lord of the Rings for the xtieth time is "true roleplaying"


The way I see it I need to rollplay in order roleplay. I'm playing character who has skills and chances at success that are determined by the roll of dice.

If I want to play an brute who is an intimidating warrior then I need the rolls to back it up. So my rollplay supports my roleplay.


Alex Smith 908 wrote:
No one self-identifies as a rollplayer. It is used exclusively by people to describe other people. It otherizes them and is used to imply that they are not true "roleplayers". That is why is is offensive.

I have already identified campaign styles, in my previous two posts, where rollplay is perfectly acceptable as a gaming style.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
And then there are optimizers like me who love dinner party roleplay and optimize for the sake of survivability and and conformation of concept.

I mean, you get so many feats, class abilities, and skill points and most of them do not apply to dinner parties, so you have to put the rest elsewhere. The one thing that directly influences this game is that "Wargames" are directly baked into the D&D DNA, so there's a certain assumption that a certain amount of fighting will take place and your advancement will be primarily due to the events of the fighting.

One thing I'm thinking though is the last character I played in a non D&D style game. At character generation, she was designed to be good at sneaking and breaking into places and had absolutely no skill whatsoever at combat (though she was excellent at running away and escaping). That was a valid character idea in that kind of game since that game did not assume that your goals would be primarily accomplished by fighting; if you did the thing without fighting anybody it was just as good as doing the thing after a bloodbath.

So I think that if you're going to change the basic assumption of the game, regarding how much the game revolves around going into a place, fighting the antagonists, bypassing the traps and similar, and collecting the loot, you're going to want to let people know and the hardcore optimization set will most likely pass.

Or you can kill two birds with one stone by making an almost entirely CHA-dependent character. I have a Lore Oracle 1/Medium X build that only uses CON for health and CHA for almost everything else. He has great combat potential and god-like social skills.


The Raven Black wrote:
thejeff wrote:


I should just optimize more, for example, even if I don't enjoy it.
What is so bad about optimizing that you do not enjoy it ? (Honest question BTW)

I have a dude in my Sunday game who regularly is bored to tears if the combat is too easy in his eyes and thus only has fun if he gimps him self to be at a massive disadvantage. So I suppose the desire for challenge but that could be a result of the DM. I would also guess that if someone is just not fond of pouring over pages to locate the best possible option for something that might make optimization less fun or engaging.


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I've already stated I don't like or use the terms "roleplayer" and "rollplayer," though I feel there is some weak correspondence between what people tend to mean by them and certain extremes of playstyles. I don't think you should insult people's chosen playstyle, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with someone who wants to build a mechanically sound and powerful character. That being said, Alex Smith's post is a good example of the hostility that sometimes flows the other direction.

Alex Smith 908 wrote:
There is nothing correlating or negatively correlating liking mechanics and being good or bad at roleplaying.

Okay, nice start, since that's true.

Alex Smith 908 wrote:
There is however a very strong correlation between those who look down on optimization and people who are very very bad at roleplaying in rules heavy systems.

Aaand we're already off the rails. You arrived at this conclusion how? Anecdotally? Personal bias? Point me to any sort of actual semi-quantitative study of this matter that shows the correlation you're talking about. To my knowledge, no one has actually studied this question. There are a number of reasons people don't like to optimize characters, ranging from bad personal experience with toxic players who did optimize theirs to overall apathy for understanding a mechanical system.

Alex Smith 908 wrote:
This is fairly simple to see why. Someone who understands that there are mechanics involved in making a roleplaying game come to life but actively refuses to engage with them is purposely making their own experience shallower.

You're assuming, without cause, that anyone who uses the term 'rollplayer' (which I don't, as stated above) doesn't understand mechanics. I've known plenty of people who prefers low powered games with quirky characters who are not built for combat survival, though they had the system mastery to make much more powerful and optimized characters if they chose. There's nothing wrong with that, any more than there is with my friends who enjoy building insanely powerful wizards who toy with the cosmos and reshape the face of the world. What determines how 'deep' or 'shallow' your gaming experience is varies greatly from person to person, and your stance is insulting towards those who don't care about building a character for power.

Alex Smith 908 wrote:
These people like those who feel the need to call others "rollplayers" tend to have very bad taste and wallow in terrible media. Take for instance the people who helped make Hatred a success. They actively find analyzing video games offensive and thus need to find a way to lash out at those who do, by buying a terribly designed and repugnant game. Similarly those who actively dislike engaging with a game's systems tend to create toxic and boring gaming environments.

Again, going off of personal experience here? What evidence, other than personal anecdotes, do you have that people who use the term "rollplayers" create 'toxic and boring gaming environments'? I'd guess about the same level as those "roleplayers" have that those dirty optimizers can't roleplay and ruin the fun at any table they're at.

Alex Smith 908 wrote:
This all of course has nothign [sic] to do with actually enjoying roleplaying. People who enjoy roleplaying and dislike complex mechanical systems but still understand them tend to just avoid mechanically complex games like Pathfinder.

You can like a complex mechanical system without building your character to have high levels of power, or without enjoying playing in a game where others try to gain as many mechanical advantages as possible. Pathfinder itself is adaptable to a variety of playstyles at a variety of power levels from low power RP-driven stories to high-power killfests. It handles any of these best when everyone is on the same page as to what level to shoot for.

Alex Smith 908 wrote:
Unfortunately many continue playing Shadowrun, Dark Heresy, and Pathfinder and decide that abusing others for playing the games as they were designed is the better course of action. They will continue making the exact same cookie-cutter character as they have for years and claim that copying Lord of the Rings for the xtieth time is "true roleplaying"

And the hits just keep coming. Are you going off of bad personal experiences here? There are as many different stories and playing styles as there are people. Once again, you're painting an entire group of people, many of whom are good players, with an extremely broad and frankly insulting brush.

Based on your post, those who use the term "rollplayer" and look down on optimizing characters:

  • Suck at roleplaying in Pathfinder (a rules-heavy system)
  • Purposefully make their RP experience shallow by not learning mechanics
  • Have bad taste and wallow in terrible media (by analogy to fans of 'Hatred')
  • Create toxic and boring game environments
  • Should really just avoid Pathfinder altogether and play a different RPG, but foolishly still play Pathfinder
  • Always make the same cookie cutter characters and copy Lord of the Rings constantly

To my eyes, this sort of list is just as insulting than someone using the term 'rollplayer' to put down someone who doesn't conform to their preferred play style. Do you not see how ironic it is to post this sort of thing in this particular thread?

Take a step back, take a deep breath, and look at your own biases before you start lecturing other people on theirs.


Cheburn wrote:

Based on your post, those who use the term "rollplayer" and look down on optimizing characters:

Suck at roleplaying in Pathfinder (a rules-heavy system)
Purposefully make their RP experience shallow by not learning mechanics
Have bad taste and wallow in terrible media (by analogy to fans of 'Hatred')
Create toxic and boring game environments
Should really just avoid Pathfinder altogether and play a different RPG, but foolishly still play Pathfinder
Always make the same cookie cutter characters and copy Lord of the Rings constantly

To my eyes, this sort of list is just as insulting than someone using the term 'rollplayer' to put down someone who doesn't conform to their preferred play style. Do you not see how ironic it is to post this sort of thing in this particular thread?

The conotation of someone using the term rollplayer as though it were seperate from roleplayer implies that they believe the two are mutually exclusive. So the assumption is that they are one of "those". The same way most vegetarians are fine but the ones who unironically use the term "bloodmouth" to refer to people who eat meat can be assumed to be one of "those".

That's the thing if someon else is starting from a position of deliberate antagonism in this case using a phrase that is specifically about creating a distinction between people who engage with mechanics and "real roleplayers". For another example take people who claim that Gone Home "isn't a real game". If you discussed the state of the video game industry in terms of "walking simulators and video games" I can safely infer by that sentcen structure that you do not consider 3d adventure games to be real video games. Same thing when you say "rollplayers and roleplayers".


Snowlilly wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
No one self-identifies as a rollplayer. It is used exclusively by people to describe other people. It otherizes them and is used to imply that they are not true "roleplayers". That is why is is offensive.
I have already identified campaign styles, in my previous two posts, where rollplay is perfectly acceptable as a gaming style.

No, you identified campaign styles where mechanical emphasis, or even power gaming, are perfectly acceptable. But they aren't places where people would use the term rollplayer to describe themselves. The term is only used as an insult, that was the point of the post. In fact you are the only one who I've ever seen use the term to legitimately describe a gaming style and not a type of person.

There's really not a nice way to say this, so I'm sorry, but you seem to have missed the point of the comment you quoted.

Sovereign Court

Alex Smith 908 wrote:
The same way most vegetarians are fine but the ones who unironically use the term "bloodmouth" to refer to people who eat meat can be assumed to be one of "those".

While I know the sort of vegetarians you're talking about (the kind who intentionally shudder every time they see meat or say "you're eating THAT") but I've never heard "bloodmouth" before.

Actually... that's kind of an awesome name. I like it. (Though not at all accurate since I'm pretty sure that I've never eaten meat which wasn't blood drained.)


First of all thanks for everyone's civil opine on this topic as it has helped me understand where some people are coming from.
Note: Comment 2a) I think is very important to this discussion.

1) I started to use the two (roll vs role) as a way to help young kids (10-16) identify games they like to play in and in general I use it in a positive way. I also tried to find terms to make it easy to remember and sort of fun for the kids to remember. I could have used the terms sort of like another poster, pure mechanics player vs narrative minded restricted player does not carry the same weight with younger (and some older) players and GM's.

2) I can see how some use it in a negative way also after reading your posts above. The one that hit me to most was peoples talking about being excluded from games do to their play style or perceived play style.
2a) So is the main problem the term or that fact you were excluded because you were perceived as being a specific type of player?
2b) If you simply change the term to describe the extreme opposite PC player types (trying not to be negative) of number crunching (generally fluff ignoring) and full narrative player (I have to take X because of my backstory) will in future just bring about people to ask for no number cruncher's or no full narrative players, it will not allow any access to a specific GM's game if they do not think you will fit in with there play style and or group.

3) Simplicity:
I understand some posters distinction that in general RP'ing has quite a few qualifiers and distinctions and one term done not describe all of them.
But for my self I can say that I do not want to post 1 page of qualifiers when roll-play or role-play will suffice. Others may want to and I think there games will benefit if they do.
I have also played in a few games where new players were advertised for by various means (new paper, game store, internet) and new players arrive play 1-3 games and not show up after or asked to not come back because the game style or their PC style did not fit in some way.
Would it have been much better off if they did not show up? Some times it would have been and at other times it was not a big deal. It really depended on just how much of a possible conflict there was brewing or being avoided.
I can say I have left games in such a way after talking with the GM and letting them know why I was not coming back. Did I waist there time and mine? In one or two cases yes and then I began asking more questions if the GM did not ask them of me.
I have also asked people or not invited people to a game because of their play styles. Which can be very awkward if there is a tight group of friends. In which case I have learned to seek out the person before hand an explain my position in as polity a way as possible. And there can be many reasons for the exclusion not just roll vs role. ir game is on Tu night from 6 pm to 10 pm and they cannot make it, they have trouble showing up to the game on time, they cannot make every session for a limited time adventure (ie every Sat and Sun for 2 months), etc.

4) Power Gaming:
I have seen power gamer's in both groups (roll vs role) so that is not a good name change for me, but maybe it might be fore others.

5) Definitions:
I think one of the main problems as often we use the same terms but define them differently from one another and this can lead to misunderstanding's among'st everyone.

Again thanks all.
MDC


Engineers and artists


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It's a little hard not to see it as negative when the most common context you see is something like "the game is more than just numbers if you role played instead of roll played".

Like you have to be one or the other. It sets up an antagonistic mindset straight out of the gate.

If I'm honest your number 1 could be ultimately damaging if you apply it to players by creating a false linear spectrum, when the fact is they are 2 axis. You can have great storytellers who are strong mechanically and those who are in it for the company and so have little to no system mastery and don't really want to get involved in the story.

If you are applying it to rules light vs rules heavy games then that is different.


I believe most people are on a spectrum of role v roll. All other factors being equal, a group of mechanically optimised characters who between them are a well-rounded group are going to be more successful. Where there is a difference is in the social scenarios.

A group that over roleplays are not likely to rely on the mechanics for resolving social encounters. This style of play benefits articulate extroverts and penalises those who are less so. Players who invest resources in social based skills are effectively wasting resources. Those who realise this and invest in other mechanics and essentially have free resources.

A groups that over rollplays, to my mind miss a lot of the joy and pleasure of the game. I cannot imagine playing a game where the player who is playing the party face state “I walk up to the guard and use Diplomacy to get past the gate, I rolled a 14 , does he let us past?”

I require my players to describe and interact to their best of their ability and then use that in conjunction with their character’s skills and a dice roll to make a judgement on how the NPC’s will react. This allows me to understand the approach and the gist of what the conversation will be and respond accordingly and roleplay to the best of my limited ability.


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I'm not fond of the phrase because I often hear it used as a lazy ad-hominem dismissal of opposing view points. There's no need to debate if this class or system or what have you is well-designed or sadly in need of repair if one uses that phrase to imply any problems come down to the other person playing the game differently, and by differently we of course mean wrong. Usually I hear rollplay used as a way to dismiss someone's issues with an element of the game as the symptoms of a lack of imagination that the more enlightened roleplayer is above. It's not helpful to discussions, and forums are here to discuss things.

I would also opine that we are all of us rollplayers and anyone who says otherwise is deceiving themselves. Freeform RP exists. There are boundless methods to shake off rules and dice rolls and mechanics and dive into a sea of pure character interaction bounded only by one's imagination, but in playing pathfinder we are very deliberately not doing this. We are here, on this forum, because we all devote a portion of our time to filtering our imagination through an extremely rules-heavy game where outcomes of even the most vividly playacted scenarios are determined by rolling dice.

Playing Pathfinder, and indeed every variant of Dungeons & Dragons, is rollplay. All the rest of this is just haggling about the degrees.

Liberty's Edge

I think I never saw roleplayer used dismissively except as a reaction in an argument to identify people who were from the start bashing the rollplayer side.

IIRC because they had been told that their character was not optimized and they hated it, refused to do it and then came to the boards seeking vindication. Which ended up in that kind of roleplayer vs rollplayer threads


By playing RPGs, we are all roleplayers and rollplayers, at few exceptions, you cannot have one without the others (if you only roleplay, it is theatre, if you only rollplay, it is only tabletop game)
Telling somebody is more a rollplayer than a roleplayer is trying to categorize the player (I remember few years ago a woman telling the RPG players were Demonic Followers, Blood-Drinking Crazy People and RPGs were the instrument of Satan)and to be honest sometimes I enjoy more one than the other....so I'm both a roleplayer and a rollplayer.
Trying to oppose one to the other is denying the game by itself.
After optimization, powergaming, cheating are part of all games, optimization is be the best in his part, so playing a hero who is not efficient in what he normally be excellent is playing an Anti-hero and can be fun, but you can be a weight to the team, and one day or another people will tell you "OK you have fun characters but please build one useful in the party"...
Powergaming (we call it Gros Bill in French) is for me one of the worst way to play because it is optimization made in the wrong way and I will not speak of cheating because as a GM I cheat a lot, for good or bad reasons, in order to make sometimes the game interresting...


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Hugo Rune wrote:

I believe most people are on a spectrum of role v roll. All other factors being equal, a group of mechanically optimised characters who between them are a well-rounded group are going to be more successful. Where there is a difference is in the social scenarios.

I could not disagree with this more. I feel that they are two radically independent qualities. You can be a high level roleplay and rollplayer, or low in both(people that sit back and roll the dice others tell them too answering with shrugs).


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Again I would like to thank everyone for the maturity shown as this has not descended into simple hate throwing, IMHO.

Roll vs dice:
Just because a game rolls dice does not mean it is a roll-game IMHO. If that is your definition then we are talking different terms.

Engineers vs Actors:
IMHO Engineers does not really fir the style as often (my experience) is the the "type" is just interested in abilities/powers and not where/how/why they get those powers.
I would use the term video game RPG'er but that is different. And again that is not a derogative term in my book but simply a style that some people prefer or excel at.

Example of "I approach the guard and roll Diplo to get see if they let me pass":

I my self have no problems with this or if someone does more in character RP'ing of the situation as I realize that people have different strengths vs their characters and simply as people. Some of my past players have been terrible in the RP department but very strong in other areas and have brought just as much enjoyment to the game as someone more acting inclined.
I generally try and provide Exp bonuses for each type of activity to reward each behavior.

MDC


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RDM42 wrote:
And I have somewhat of a problem with the idea of 'ideas' being offensive and not allowed to be expressed. Its only a short road to very bad places with that particular methodology.

The problem with this is that some "ideas" are factually incorrect. I can express my "idea" that gravity is false and we can all fly like Superman if we really want to. I can derisively refer to everyone who doesn't fly as "lead-body," and they might find it offensive -- but more likely, they will find it absurd.

Likewise, the Stormwind Fallacy is actually a fallacy. Referring to someone as a "role-player, not a roll-player!" implies that the two are mutually-contradictory, which they demonstratively are not. So when someone calls me one or the other, I'm not offended so much as shocked at their ignorance.

So, if you want to spout all kinds of falsehoods and then claim people who argue against them on that basis are simply "trying to find offense," you're living in an imaginary world in which physical reality doesn't actually get factored into your thinking.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Referring to someone as a "role-player, not a roll-player!" implies that the two are mutually-contradictory, which they demonstratively are not. So when someone calls me one or the other, I'm not offended so much as shocked at their ignorance.

I put forth my definition and provided an example for each.

The two gaming styles are mutually exclusive at any given point in time.


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Snowlilly wrote:
The two gaming styles are mutually exclusive at any given point in time.

In the same way that only the moon or the stars can be out at night, but never both!


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Kirth Gersen wrote:


Likewise, the Stormwind Fallacy is actually a fallacy. Referring to someone as a "role-player, not a roll-player!" implies that the two are mutually-contradictory, which they demonstratively are not. So when someone calls me one or the other, I'm not offended so much as shocked at their ignorance.

The problem I have with Stormwind is that it's used to dismiss lots of things that aren't the actual fallacy.

That the two are not mutually contradictory doesn't mean there can't be tension between them or that people can have preferences for one or the other or that more optimization and more roleplay always makes a better game for everyone.

Grand Lodge

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The misuse of an argument doesn't refute it.

Snowlilly wrote:

I put forth my definition and provided an example for each.

The two gaming styles are mutually exclusive at any given point in time.

Your examples aren't actually mutually exclusive. I've used both on the same character.


thejeff wrote:

That the two are not mutually contradictory doesn't mean there can't be tension between them or that people can have preferences for one or the other or that more optimization and more roleplay always makes a better game for everyone.

I've posted before that the most enjoyable games I've ever been in were with people who were very good at both. The least enjoyable experiences involved people who were good at neither. And I've never actually seen a well-optimized character in play who wasn't role-played well, unless someone else built the character.

People may prefer one aspect over the other. But generally, in my experience, people get better at BOTH of them the more they play.


thejeff wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:


I am not going for the title 'nitpicker of the month' here, rather I'd like to see the discussion move beyond binary 'they are totally exclusive' vs. 'there is no contradiction at all'.

Fair point. I guess I could say that calling someone by a phrase with a negative connotation can be taken as an insult even when none is intended so it is better to not use the word or phrase.

I would prefer to say that the person using the term should be very clear to avoid confusions, but one person's "clear" is another person's "still an insult".

So is there an term covering the same ground, but without the negative connotations?

I do find it a useful distinction to make, even if there isn't an absolute distinction between the two.

To my knowledge, no.

I would like for there to be a common agreement on several terms, but the last time I tried that we(as a community) could not agree.


Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

First, if I am wrong in my word usage I would like to know it.

Second, I was planing on writing a series of articles and roll-play vs role-play was going to be one of the topics so if it is offensive to many people (and for some reason I have missed this fact) I would again like to know.
Third, I am also a big enough person to admit if I am wrong or doing something that is wrong, I will change my ways. And I am just as likely to make a mistake as another person.
BTW, the moderator note above was not me trying to take any high ground in any way but just a point of reference in that I try and still deal with stuff as if I was a moderator (but am very very glad I am not, because of the crazy stuff that happens from time to time).

In the past I have seen war gamer's vs role-players mentioned but again that was mainly do to the small books released with war games vs guides with role-playing games. (ie I am sure some of you out there used Car Wars or Oger war games and adapted them into RP type games and or settings,. But maybe again I am in a minority here)

SheepishEidolon,
I see it as a scale and not wholly binary in nature. As you said there are lots of factors that can come into play, IMHO, when describing play style. But often I find that having a few simple terms go'es a long way to speed understanding.

Again, I would love some other terms to take into consideration if anyone has some?

MDC

What I would in your case was add something like "For the sake of this article X means ____ and Y means _____.


PK the Dragon wrote:
Snowlilly wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
No one self-identifies as a rollplayer. It is used exclusively by people to describe other people. It otherizes them and is used to imply that they are not true "roleplayers". That is why is is offensive.
I have already identified campaign styles, in my previous two posts, where rollplay is perfectly acceptable as a gaming style.

No, you identified campaign styles where mechanical emphasis, or even power gaming, are perfectly acceptable. But they aren't places where people would use the term rollplayer to describe themselves. The term is only used as an insult, that was the point of the post. In fact you are the only one who I've ever seen use the term to legitimately describe a gaming style and not a type of person.

There's really not a nice way to say this, so I'm sorry, but you seem to have missed the point of the comment you quoted.

My group has used both terms multiple times in non-insulting ways. When we use them, they describe the style of character build that the person being labeled generally prefers. I typically build for rollplay, while another member of our group generally is considered a fan of roleplay more than mechanics. Neither of those things are seen as insults by our group members. The terms are not inherently insulting, and neither do they have objective meaning.


PK the Dragon wrote:

Oh boy. This topic. Good luck, folks.

Mark: Going strictly on my experiences looking for games on Roll20, it's very common to see game listings that say:

"Looking for ROLE players not ROLL players" when browsing roll20 games. With those caps, I didn't add them, they're often capitalized that way. The message they're sending is, at best, we don't even want to TRY to play with someone who enjoys the mechanics of the game. At worst, it's accompanied with a bunch of other ranting about how awful powergamers are and how they ruin every game.

It's one thing to say "I'm going for a low power level game, please don't minmax" or similar, but the "Looking for ROLEplayers not ROLLplayers" comes off just snotty and meanspirited.

And I mean, and this is an important point, the implication is that since the hobby is "roleplaying games", if you are a "rollplayer" you aren't really a valid member of the hobby. I don't know if that's the message people are trying to send, but with the angry rants that often accompanies such phrases, it seems that way.

Anyway, it's not offensive in a "curse word" sort of way. It's offensive in the sense that it's trying to categorize people in a negative way and used to exclude people for shallow reasons.

(Also, the term rollplayer seems very inaccurate as a way of capturing the problem, as I read it as "people who enjoy rolling dice", which is a core part of the game. who doesn't enjoy rolling dice? Obviously that's not what people are saying, but that's what the shorthand lingo implies, which suggests it's not only meanspirited, it's imprecise language as well.)

This is what I was talking about. This is how it is often used when I see it here.


Snowlilly wrote:

Everything is offensive to somebody .... everything. The only way to ensure nobody is offended is to shut down the forums (e.g. D&D 5.0). A solution neither you nor I desire.

There is a difference between someone being offended by something that is not generally offensive, and using a known offensive term.

Saying "well someone will be offended anyway" does not justify using the offensive term.


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Snowlilly wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Referring to someone as a "role-player, not a roll-player!" implies that the two are mutually-contradictory, which they demonstratively are not. So when someone calls me one or the other, I'm not offended so much as shocked at their ignorance.

I put forth my definition and provided an example for each.

The two gaming styles are mutually exclusive at any given point in time.

are you referring to this post?
Snowlilly wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
thejeff wrote:

So is there an term covering the same ground, but without the negative connotations?

I do find it a useful distinction to make, even if there isn't an absolute distinction between the two.

OK, let's say you switch out 'roll-player' for 'optimizer', which is usually less annoying to the people you're labelling.

Even so, by framing the conversation you seem to be saying, "The Stormwind Fallacy is not a fallacy. Everyone is either an optimizer or a role-player. If you've made an optimized character, you're likely to be bad at role-playing. We are having a discussion built around this assumption."

I view optimization as completely separate from roleplay vs rollplay.

You can rollplay with an unoptimized character.

Ferocious Fred: "I use diplomacy to convince the guard to let me past"
DM: "Roll it"
[dice=Diplomacy]1d20-1

And you can roleplay with an optimized character.

Sassy Sally: "Seductively approaching the guard, lust in her eyes, Sally breathes huskily in his ears, I know I really shouldn't be here, but Lord Pompous is really looking forward to my visit and I seem to have gotten lost. Gently trailing one finger along the guards cheek as she pouts and gazes in the guards eyes, Sally continues, I would be ever so appreciative if you could direct me towards my Lord's chambers.

DM: The guard looks around nervously, starting to perspire slightly, Bbbbbut I really can't do that mam, I'm not supposed to let anyone down this hallway without the lords clearance.

Sassy Sally: Pouting even more, Sally brushes her breasts against the guard. But he's waiting for me, and I could be really appreciative later if you could just help me out a teensy bit now.

DM: Give me a bluff check, with a +2 circumstance modifier.
Sassy Sally: [dice=Bluff]1d20+17+2

Of course, all the verbage is just going to slow down a dungeon crawl with little to no social interaction. It that environment, you very...

Because that's not how people use it. If you said,

DM: Give me a bluff check, with a +20 circumstance modifier.
Sassy Sally: [dice=Bluff]1d20+2+20
Then you're getting to what a "roleplayer" does when used in "role vs roll"
People will be discussing how to make their rogue attractive and gain bonuses like this and people come saying, if you were a roleplayer instead of a rollplayer it wouldn't matter. So while your specific idea of what the words mean might not seem bad. That is not how they are used by others. the "roleplayers" are often saying that if you roleplayed well then you wouldn't need to worry about what stat bonuses you have. Like you gave your "roleplayer" a huge bonus to their roll. had you reversed the examples and had the long story have the low mod and the "roller" have a high mod then you're getting closer to what the users of the term "role v roll" are meaning. The users are saying that if you made a good roleplay that the rule of cool is king and you shouldn't fail.

The example is a barb walks into a bar, slaughters everyone in it, the town guard that comes and the family of the barkeep and then wants to intimidate the barkeep by threatening him with his life. And then the cha dumped barb rolls his 3-2+2 circumstance for intimidate and the barkeep is totally not scared of him. The "role" players complain that they barkeep should be intimidated and a roll not even needed. "how could he not be scared by now?"


Captain Battletoad wrote:
PK the Dragon wrote:
Snowlilly wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
No one self-identifies as a rollplayer. It is used exclusively by people to describe other people. It otherizes them and is used to imply that they are not true "roleplayers". That is why is is offensive.
I have already identified campaign styles, in my previous two posts, where rollplay is perfectly acceptable as a gaming style.

No, you identified campaign styles where mechanical emphasis, or even power gaming, are perfectly acceptable. But they aren't places where people would use the term rollplayer to describe themselves. The term is only used as an insult, that was the point of the post. In fact you are the only one who I've ever seen use the term to legitimately describe a gaming style and not a type of person.

There's really not a nice way to say this, so I'm sorry, but you seem to have missed the point of the comment you quoted.

My group has used both terms multiple times in non-insulting ways. When we use them, they describe the style of character build that the person being labeled generally prefers. I typically build for rollplay, while another member of our group generally is considered a fan of roleplay more than mechanics. Neither of those things are seen as insults by our group members. The terms are not inherently insulting, and neither do they have objective meaning.

What do you even mean by this? Can you give an example of which each would do differently in a certain situation or something?


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Cheburn wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
thejeff wrote:

So is there an term covering the same ground, but without the negative connotations?

I do find it a useful distinction to make, even if there isn't an absolute distinction between the two.

OK, let's say you switch out 'roll-player' for 'optimizer', which is usually less annoying to the people you're labelling.

Even so, by framing the conversation you seem to be saying, "The Stormwind Fallacy is not a fallacy. Everyone is either an optimizer or a role-player. If you've made an optimized character, you're likely to be bad at role-playing. We are having a discussion built around this assumption."

So, is there any non-offensive way of stating my preference for games with low rollplay and high roleplay or is the mere idea that I prefer one to the other in itself offensive?

I should just optimize more, for example, even if I don't enjoy it.
"I prefer to focus on storytelling and roleplaying, rather than mechanics and character power"?

But it is possible to do both.

When presented as an either/or situation we find the Stormwind fallacy.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Captain Battletoad wrote:
Quote:
stuff
My group has used both terms multiple times in non-insulting ways. When we use them, they describe the style of character build that the person being labeled generally prefers. I typically build for rollplay, while another member of our group generally is considered a fan of roleplay more than mechanics. Neither of those things are seen as insults by our group members. The terms are not inherently insulting, and neither do they have objective meaning.
What do you even mean by this? Can you give an example of which each would do differently in a certain situation or something?

So an example of someone who builds for rollplay (as used by my group) would be when I built my Grippli rogue for the sole purpose of having an extremely strong bluff chance and to focus my combat utility entirely on getting the highest sneak attack damage output as possible (which is general rogue stuff, but that was pretty much my entire focus). I didn't really create any backstory for the character and his personality was all over the place, changing based on what would be most beneficial to us, while staying close to his alignment.

An example of a roleplay build would be a character one of our group members created who intentionally took skill ranks/traits/feats that would provide minimal utility to that character or the group (not all of their skill ranks/traits/feats, but some) because it fit that characters story/personality.

None of us really see either of these as inherently bad since they're based on preferences. Plus, we pretty much exclusively play published APs instead of home-brewed campaigns, so min-maxing isn't really necessary. Additionally, this isn't to say that you can't do both well, but rather we use it to describe which of the two each player tends to prefer. Even on my characters with really well established backstories and strong roleplaying interactions, I tend to base almost all of my build decisions on cold, hard mechanics. Because of that, I'm pretty accurately described by my group as a "rollplayer".


But Battletoad, what about when someone creates a very strong backstory and personality... whilst optimizing the character for his purpose 'In The Field.'

Those who are so close to that middle-point between the two that choosing one is splitting hairs [I would say within 10% in either direction.]

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