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 Post subject: Re: The difference between optimization and effectiveness
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:47 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:45 pm
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SamhainIA wrote:
Eric:

Quote:
Killers: interfere with the functioning of the game world or the play experience of other players


I think that people that engender a negative play experience in other players should be encouraged to find a way "to play nice with others", so everyone can have a good play experience.


I do agree with you Josh. Players should always be encouraged to play nice with others. When you approach a player that is being disruptive it is important to understand what their goals are, what they want out of the game, and help them find a way to meet those goals in a less disruptive manner. Above all, take a positive approach.

I had to help one player who genuinely could not afford a book running a gun based PC who didn't understand how the initiative clock worked. He kept trying to play as if he was playing a 3.5 character in a DnD style combat round. What I did was I found out what was important to him mechanically, and what was frustrating -HIM- about how he was playing. Turned out he was frustrated with the rifles reload time, but having a rife was very important to him. So? I showed him how to play a caster and use spells especially spells with push effects and call to arms to let him act more frequently. He was delighted with the change, and so was the rest of the group.

It is counter productive to simply demand a change, without specifying what changed is needed; why it is needed; and how that change will solve a problem the disruptive player is having. Pay attention to the last part. People tend not to change to meet the expectations of others. Rather they change to solve what they themselves perceive to be a problem.

As for the quote about Killer's being disruptive to the game world.. You may wish to reread the whole article as it relates to all gaming with a heavy focus on computer gaming. A killer is attracted to games such as Call of Duty, and PvP game play. They repeatedly seek to force their will upon others and demand status for doing so. I would agree with you that such a mentality would not fit well in Arcanis. But I also would argue that a true killer personality wouldn't be attracted to a table top RPG anyhow and would leave without prompting.

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There once was a gnome called Oozy,
Who kissed a Yaricite floozy.
But rather than wed,
She drowned him instead,
Now he is a Yaricite toosey!


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 Post subject: Re: The difference between optimization and effectiveness
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Hunh. This is turning out to be a great thread! Thanks everyone for the food for thought.

I want to turn to the subset of issues concerning the intersection of party effectiveness and "working together".

Like just about everyone here I've had an experience or two with disruptive players both as a player and as a game master. I'd like to divide them into two categories. The first I'm going to call the outliers. They are the rare experiences where there is a player who just isn't interested in playing nice with the group for whatever reason. I don't have a lot to say to this category save that its thankfully rare and seems to be relegated to larger cons where you won't see the other players again (ie no real consequences for the next time you sit down at a table and game). The other set of disruptive games I've played in have been where the PLAYERS (not characters) have stopped trying to work together.

This is an issue that sometimes came up in the old campaign where we had different secret societies and PCs who fought on the opposite sides of a civil war. I another this caused Henry and module writers some headaches in the last campaign calling sometimes calling on PCs to sometimes go on adventures that did not further their interests simply to see what was going on and return a report. Potentially worse were the modules that had no guidelines at all. To Shake the Pillars of Heaven was an amazing module, but when I ran it locally we had a die hard supporter of Calcestus who was against the idea of Elandre sneaking off with the scrolls. His character rebelled in the last fight and tried to stop Elandre and the other players (and created a temporary local rift in the players). I felt like I was running the last scene in the Sound of Music where the former boyfriend rats out the von Trapp family at the abbey.

Now I LOVE the added level of intrigue and am looking forward to the arrival\return of secret orders and side missions and perhaps to a disagreement in the player base of what is the right thing to do (it was pretty hard to argue against killing internals). But I also worry a little too. I don't want sit at hamstrung tables either because the players can't agree on what to do but also because no one trusts "the mourner PC". In my experience it usually isn't that way because even when PCs are in conflict the players are still looking for the workable compromise and module writers have "left an out." A great example of this by module writers came during the old module temptations of the Flesh. Two different secret societies were sent after the same piece of jewelry. But one wanted the inscription and the other wanted the pendant. Players who were paying attention when reading their secret orders had plenty of space to work things out. I think its important for module authors to continue to think in advance about possible divides in the interests in the player base and also how they might be bridged. I also don't think that every mod has to be playable by every PC. A loyalist only or rebel only mod (or even better a match pair to balance both sides) IMO would have been great in the last arc.

Its true that some players don't like any conflict among the party, but some of my best play experiences have come at tables where characters are sometimes at odds. Last summer my best experience at Origins came at a Call of Cthullu table called Joy Ride. our characters were divided by "Federal" law enforcement , local law enforcement, and some local scum bags. We all turf to defend and differences of opinions but we all hunted down a cosmic horror. Working through our differences was a big part of the fun. Because the cosmic horror was able to possess people (which we didn't know sitting down) we had some trouble in the begining with players who seemed to be acting like jerks. But it made it sweeter when the penny dropped for me and I finally figured out what was going on. We made a great table because we kept looking for ways to work together even while characters were sometimes at impasses. We also had a great judge who helped nudge us at times.

In short everyone there was effective at managing cooperation and conflict at the table.

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 Post subject: Re: The difference between optimization and effectiveness
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:51 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:45 pm
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I recall the time I played "In Darkness, Light". To avoid spoilers I was playing a PC with a less than popular Secret Society that a Key NPC was considering supporting. Every other PC at the table supported the establishment position. Eventually, the strength of my position was coming through and it was apparent that I was going to "win" the argument. Suddenly, the Caidian decides to slip her dagger into my PC's rib cage with murderous precision. I'm down for the count, and out of the discussion. Naturally the Cadian wins the discussion. :-)

I get the impression that this kind of conflict at the table would not be welcomed at a randomly selected table of players. True. If the ONLY information I had about the game I'd be here to rant. But this occurred at a game table of personal, well respected friends, some of whom I've played with for years. Plus the dagger was slipped in with a friendly laugh and chuckle. It is my fondest memory of Arcanicon, and one of my fondest gaming experiences ever. If I didn't know the other players; if I didn't have an established relationship with the other players; and if it the blade was drawn out of player anger, as apposed to PC anger, then I would have had a different reaction.

There is however another kind of conflict at the table that concerns me. Specifically it relates to "Social Flaws". Be it a named flaw such as Blood Thirsty, Code of Honor, Heretic, or even an unspoken flaw such as Mourner's Membership, or Elemental Worship in a Mother Church Centered game.

I have run into players to make these PC choices without fully thinking through and accepting the ramifications. If you take code of honor, it is the nature of the game that a party may force you to break your code and kill a prisoner. If you take Blood Thirsty you may end up killing a captive you need to keep. If as a player you are unwilling to accept the in game consequences for these choices, then conflict can turn personal. When it turns personal it quickly turns ugly.

Why not include in the new Campaign Guide a section on social flaws? Let players with a social flaw spend a fate point to auto succeed on a Mettle Stand Firm check to hold their tongue in the case of Code of Honor, or stave their hand in the case of Blood Thirsty? Or other social flaws when at the GM's when the conflict raised by these flaws is disruptive? So also the player with Code of Honor, or Blood Thirsty could add the Addiction Flaw or the Haunted by Nightmares flaw instead of the fate point if the player wants an RP hook instead. Heretic's should be able to spend favors to avoid major consequences, relegating the situation to a "Notice of....X" disfavor. There may be other flaws that are appropriate to take depending on the situation. Perhaps spending a fate point is too light a solution and a permanent loss of fate is better. But my point is to give players and GM's a known mechanical way to diffuse the situation should it arise. That way the conflict is limited to the PC level, and not the personal level.

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There once was a gnome called Oozy,
Who kissed a Yaricite floozy.
But rather than wed,
She drowned him instead,
Now he is a Yaricite toosey!


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 Post subject: Re: The difference between optimization and effectiveness
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:20 am 
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I like to think that pretty much everyone builds their character to be effective at *something*, even if it's being a great generalist (or person who can fill in whatever role is needed). the nice thing about this system, however, is that you can get a character who isn't tied down to being just the "face" or "tank" of the group. in (for example) the 3.5 version of the campaign, people could get very possessive of various roles in a party, specifically (in my experience) the social or "face" role.
while I could probably site several examples of this, suffice it to say that I think that with the system we have now, people are much more likely to build the kind of character they want to play, as opposed to the dreaded "cookie cutter" build; and this is, I feel, one of the real selling points of the system.

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 Post subject: Re: The difference between optimization and effectiveness
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:52 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:36 am
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Vrog:

I can recall some build that in action were not very good at what they did, particularly the dark-kin charging specialist (from a player that no longer plays AFAIK) so its possible to focus on (and be good at) something thats not beneficial(?) for a a player playing on a team that has a character that wants to survive to focus on.

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 Post subject: Re: The difference between optimization and effectiveness
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:24 am 
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true, Josh, but then again I think the most important thing when sitting down to play with anyone who doesn't know you/your character is communication. letting people know that you're a charger (to steal your example) keeps others from being surprised/scrambling to support you when you do it.

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Domi Kreig, Master Yhing Hir horselord (Tier 2.5)
Formerly Vrog Skyreaver. Upheld his oath to King Noen and took his place. Definitely beat Jaeger Val'Holryn to the cult of the thousand eyed man on that rock that one time. Definitely.


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 Post subject: Re: The difference between optimization and effectiveness
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:51 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:36 am
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to be fair that was a long time ago when the system was VERY new, and that guy dropped in every single combat i saw him participate in, I recommended that he quit charging every action... he didn't seem to understand.

Edit
I should follow that up with:

There are some build that take depend on other people to make work and unless you have agreement with those other people, you are trying to play their characters for them non-consentually. Its like assuming that just because I'm a cleric, my only job is to heal you when you do dumb things.

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Last edited by SamhainIA on Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The difference between optimization and effectiveness
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:03 pm 
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I personally really like the IDEA of a charger, but until you hit Tier II (Guarded Charge) it just doesn't seem reasonable to me.

That said, I do have a Milandesian Cavalry character buried somewhere on my harddrive I'd love to see work, but the opportunities to do a cavalry charge come up so rarely that it isn't worth it.

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 Post subject: Re: The difference between optimization and effectiveness
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:50 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:45 pm
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It Sure sounds like the player who had a charging PC was still mentally locked into playing 3.5, where that tactic is quickly optimized. Arcanis has a way of discouraging things that don't work well by frustrating the player. The way to open a conversation with that situation is:...

1) "Hum. You seam to be dropping in combat a lot. It that intended?"
2) "Well no." (Most likely response)
3) "What is it that you are trying to accomplish by charging?"
4) "Well, my PC is a raving lunatic that rushes head long into battle to kill the enemy first."
(Or what ever, the extract response here isn't important, as long as you genuinely listen),
5) Well why don't we sit down and find a way to reflect that within the rules, without triggering such a frustrating outcome? Now you said your PC is ...{paraphrase answer from line one, in this case, say "So you said you want to play a berserker?"
(Conduct a Friendly PC audit with the player to help them achieve what is important to them)

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Eric Hughes

There once was a gnome called Oozy,
Who kissed a Yaricite floozy.
But rather than wed,
She drowned him instead,
Now he is a Yaricite toosey!


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