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Author Topic: Rant rant rant  (Read 283 times)

AeonBlues

Rant rant rant
« on: March 18, 2007, 10:11:22 pm »
This is an official rant thread.  If you are not ranting, then please don't respond.  Also, I am not posting this because I am upset about anything, I am posting this because I have been quietly brainstorming for about a  week now, and it's starting to rain.  My purpose is not to make people feel defensive, it is to encourage character development onto a new level of RP.  

First of all, I would like to thank Gary Gygax for making D&D in the first place.  Second of all I would like to quote my sister Tai, "An entire generation of roll players has suffered because roll playing was conceived by war gamers and not by cultural anthropologists."  You might be asking yourself what this means.  It means that the system we use to govern our characters personalities is a  stupid and archaic system that was made up by a war gamer.  I swear, the only reason Wizards did not make a better alignment system for D&D 3.0 is "If it aint broke, don't fix it."  It's not a bad system for beginners but it has way way too many limitations.  Good characters should have the flexibility to do things, on occasion, that are malicious, vengeful, greedy, and vindictive.  Evil characters should have certain weaknesses where they behave in a generous manner.  A good example of this is when Raistlin Majere demonstrated love and compassion to a gully dwarf. All you RP elitists talk about something not being realistic to a character's alignment, and you miss the point that alignments are incredibly unrealistic.  No one, and mean no one fits into any one alignment perfectly at all times.  In real life, we call actions and comments that are out side of our normal personalities, "mistakes"  or "moment of weakness" or "I was drunk" or "Christmas spirit"

When I make up a character, I do not chose an alignment and then make up an appropriate personality.  I make up a persona and then pick an alignment that best fits that persona.  When I RP my characters, I never think about alignment.  I always think of my characters personality.  I don't think, what would I do, I think what would my character do.  Some times it comes down to my characters experiances when deciding what they say, and how they would react.  Never once though, since high school, has anyone accused me of not playing my alignment.  Now is it that I don't care about alignment, and I never think about alignment, but my characters RP fits with in his alignment?  Answer, I made the personality first and chose the alignment that fits that personality, and I do stay true to that my  character's personality.  Hmph, we should just throw that old arcait alignment system out the window, and evolve to better roll playing.

My next rant, is Power gaming.  You know, it took me a long time to figure out why power gaming is a bad thing.  It is pretty ¤¤¤¤ natural for us to want to be the best at things.  We want the strongest, fastest, smartest, wisest what ever character in the world.  The hardest to kill, and deals a punch that legendary.  There is a problem with the power build.  It is called game balance.  The more uber your character, the harder it is for a DM to create encounters that are challenging.  Encounters that are too easy are boring, and encounters that are too hard are frustrating.  When all the stats significant to your class are maximized, every feat works perfectly to maximizing damage dealt and minimizing damage received, then you have just set yourself up for a bad time.  Either you are bored, or you are dead.  Never did you stop and think about what is most fun.  You ever notice that most encounters just seem to get harder.  I blame power gamers.  We have players soloing the rift, and what happens, the rift gets made so difficult, only power gamers have business being there.  In the time I have been playing here, I have seen this as a continuous trend.  The more players power game, the harder the DMs make the encounters, the more players feel like they have to power game in order to not get DTs.    The answer to this, is to take feats that do not work best for your character, but take some good RP feats.  Do not get the very best equipment you can possibly have, but allow your character to have some weakness.  Weaknesses and disadvantages generate good RP, and allow DMs to create fun and interesting encounters that challenge parties.  My gut feeling here is that if we the players make conscious efforts to not power game, then the DMs will balance our game world accordingly.

Where power gaming is most painful, is how it effects new players.  In the Amber roll playing game, Erick Wugic writes, "If I put a 200 point character in the hands of a  novice player, and a 100 point character in the hands of an expert player, the 100 point character will kill the 200 point character every time."  Notice that if you power build build your character, you are relying less on your own skill as a player, and more on the brute strength of your character.  By this you not only handicap your skill progression as a player, you handicap your personal enjoyment that you get from playing.

Now, what happens on Layo is that new players start playing.  They do not have enough playing experience to create a power build, and they lack technical skill.  They enter into a game world that is balanced for highly skilled players with well built characters.  Bad time.  We as players need to turn this around.  We need to be patient.  Not rush to get as many kills as possible.  We need to embrace new players, and coach good RP and technical skills.  We need to build characters that are well balanced, and then avoid areas that are too dangerous for a non power built character.  Only then will our changes be recognized and certain areas re balanced to be more fun for everyone.

AeonBlues

jrizz

Re: Rant rant rant
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2007, 11:55:33 pm »
Wow. Really good points about the affects of power gaming on the world in general. You have given me a lot to think about.
 

ycleption

Re: Rant rant rant
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2007, 11:57:08 pm »
Quote from: AeonBlues
An entire generation of roll players has suffered because roll playing was conceived by war gamers and not by cultural anthropologists."


I agree whole heartedly. The best roleplaying experiances I have had were in games run by people who were anthropology/sociology/folklore students or professors. Alignment is very limiting, I mean who really thinks that anyone can be captured by two dimensions? At the same time, it can be a good heuristic for concieving a character... it can be a helpful starting point rather than a complete description of a character's personality. I mean, this is a game, and games have boundries. Part of the problem comes when we make false associations with alignments, and make the boundaries tighter than they need to be: good=nice, lawful=unbending prude, etc. The alignment system can be profoundly limiting at times, but I think that most good role-players find some flexibility.

On power-gaming... On one hand, I want to say, if you can level quickly, more power to you. On the other, I am somewhat competitive, and it really irks me that some players take a week to reach the level it took me to months to reach. I really don't enjoy fighting with massive groups, nor with a group of much higher level (against server rules anyway) which, I think, is how most people get xp quickly. I would love to attend more DM quests (been able to do one thus far), but usually don't have time. I think the WL xp wand is a great way to try and mitigate this, by rewarding roleplayers with xp, but from what I hear not many people use it. Yes, I enjoy fighting, but RP is why I'm here. I think many of the rules on this server: limiting multi-classing and such are a start, but I think AeonBlues is right, as a player base we need to do stuff. yeah... and stuff....
 

darkstorme

Re: Rant rant rant
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2007, 04:36:36 am »
And now, a rebuttal rant on alignment:

Roleplayers everywhere have spent a long time shedding the strict alignment rules - but for some classes, it's absolutely appropriate, simply because D&D is not the real world.  Examples:
  • Paladins - these gents (and ladies) are based upon Sir Gawain's sterling example - utter Lawfulness, utter piety, and the willingness to suffer burdens for others.  And (as in the French romances) when such a paragon of good and light steps, even for a second, from the path, they fall, and they fall hard, until some significant atonement is made.  Gawain took a nasty nick from the Knight's axe just because he gave a seductive (but married) lady a token.  Likewise, we have D&D's Atonement spell.
  • Clerics - Whether you're theistic or not, there is precious little evidence of a god or gods interfering in our world.  However, in the D&D worlds, and Layonara in particular, clerics are the earthly vessels of a small portion of a God's power.  It is safe to assume that should a cleric step off the path dictated by that God, all said power would be yanked away faster than you can say "religious schism".  While the alignments may not precisely detail how a god expects their followers to behave, it provides sufficient approximation to quantify behaviour so that a GM can impartially determine whether or not Joe GoodCleric is about to feel the power of his god drained out of him as he stands panting over the lifeless body of the innocent bartender who made fun of his outfit.
  • (And to a lesser degree)Monks - For these individuals, alignment violations should be nigh-impossible!  These are people who spend every waking hour working on rigid control of body and mind, because this is what gives them their awesome power and abilities.  As such, losing control in a fit of anger is anathema to them, and they would be horrified at themselves for doing so.  While such an alignment violation might happen, the response to that violation should be just as severe as atonement for clerics and paladins, even if it lacks some of the punch.
The other problem with complaining about the strictness of alignments was addressed in some respect by ycleption:
Quote from: ycleption
Part of the problem comes when we make false associations with alignments, and make the boundaries tighter than they need to be: good=nice, lawful=unbending prude, etc.


To borrow Stephen's phrase, "Repeat after me:" "Good" does not equal "nice"!  Good people can be nice, it's a free world... except for Prantz, but I digress... but good people are under no obligation to be nice.  Anyone who's read Order of the Stick, look at Miko.  Up until she Falls (and that's really more a product of some inner paranoid psychoses she's carrying around), Miko obeys the tenets of her faith, defending the righteous, and vanquishing evil in whatever form she finds it in.  She is, however, utterly businesslike and even arrogant towards those she saves, because (naturally) she thinks she's better than they are.  After all, they wouldn't need saving, otherwise.  Humility is not a requirement of the alignment.

Likewise, evil people can be absolutely charming!  Generally speaking, it serves them well.  In most classic literature, Mephistopheles, Satan, Beezelbub - they all were smooth talkers, personable, charismatic to a fault - and often likable.  Yes, often they can become nasty - they're evil, it's hard to avoid!  But if it doesn't run counter to whatever plans they have, there's no reason they can't be friendly with whomever they choose.  They might betray that friend later, or they might not.  A person might go to their grave (of natural causes, that is), without ever knowing the festering evil that lurks in the soul of their good friend Lawrence O'KittenSquisher.

Leaving that axis behind, let's look at Law and Chaos.  Starting with the former, I'd like to point out what is (often) a double standard; Lawful Good, and Lawful Evil.  Lawful Evil characters are the (sometimes literal) Devils in the Details.  They will be the ones to write binding contracts with sub-clauses so small one can barely read them, which entrap innocents into their web of sin and deceit.  And that's just insurance agents!  *grins*  But one thing that Lawful Evil characters often do is twist the letter of the law to their own advantage.  Too often I see Lawful Good characters reluctantly admit that their hands are tied by the law, when a tactful reinterpretation of the letter of that law might allow good to prevail.  While outright breaking a law would clearly be an alignment violation (and perhaps precipitate a shift), the law can be made surprisingly flexible if necessary.

More to the point, Lawful does not have to mean "follows the laws of the land".  It means "Follows a careful personal code, moralistic or behavioural".  This code might intersect or even mirror the laws of the land, but nowhere does it say that it has to adhere to them absolutely.  (Of course, if part of that moral code is "One should always obey the laws of the land, then, well, you have to.)  It's here where LE villains usually get their "acts of mercy" - they might make a point never to kill an unarmed opponent, even if it's an unfair competition; they might make a point never to harm a child, and to save one from harm if they can without serious risk to themselves.  Evil characters can have scruples too.. just of a different nature than their good counterparts.

On the converse, we have Chaos.  This, in fact, by its very definition, cannot be the alignment of a character who commits only anarchic acts - because if they firmly believe in anarchy and do their best to spread it and support it, they're edging towards Lawfulness!  Their code of values might be at odds with those of others... but that doesn't make it any less of a code.  So a chaotic character is one who acts on their whim.. but that whim is steered by intellect, and therefore has a certain amount of order, or it would not be true chaos.  (Whee!)

Finally, we have the neutrals.  With the exception of True Neutral, I view the Neutrals as a sort of in-between state.  NG and NE have a code that they hold to... but not nearly as religiously as LG and LE, respectively.  If a situation comes up which involves casting aside one of those inner rules, they might be regretful, but will do it regardless.  For a LG or LE character to do the same, it would take a great deal of soul searching, and most certainly would not occur on the spur of the moment.  Understand that this is not a limitation of the alignment, but a characterization of those who bear that alignment.

Likewise, LN and CN individuals bear no strong alliance to either Good or Evil... but, as the PHB suggests, tend to lean a little bit in the direction of good, since having good neighbours and allies tends to work out better for them in the long run.  They might have a particularly vicious streak, or some nasty habit, without being actively evil, but that same quirk or feature of their personality prevents them from being a truly good person.

True Neutral is a special case, because it can really be one of two things.  It can be the nexus of the four extremes, the ultimate fence-sitter, or it can be someone who views the world as being in a sort of balance.. except when they don't, because even they have to deviate from their code, lest they upset the balance.  It's metapsychology, to a large degree, but in order to truly balance out good and evil, order and chaos, an individual has to support all sides and none, and thus take sides against and with each of them at some point or another.  It can be particularly tricky to play a character in this manner, and my kudos go out to any who can convincingly play the Balancer.

Anyway, I think I've fulfilled the rant requirements of this thread.  Thoughts?
 

gilshem ironstone

Re: Rant rant rant
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2007, 03:22:54 pm »
Layo paladins are a bit more complex than Sir Gawain though as each deity in Layo has a different focus.  I am playing a Paladin of Lucinda right now, and his prime concern is injustices regarding to magic.  If someone does something that could be construed as evil, but has nothing to do with magic, there is no guarantee that he will come out, sword blazing as a champion of the meek.  Not that he is apathetic but that he feels freedom and individuality must be made to prosper and even though he may not agree with an act, he must not take himself to be a source of righteousness when judging others actions.  In fact he criticizes Toran for what he think is too Black and White a way of looking at the world; that Good and Evil are reductionist ideas that gloss over human complexity.  He is still Lawful, still Good, but sees the world in shades of grey.

Really what I am saying is that even a Lawful Good paladin does not have to be helpful all the time.  And they may even seem callous, but their inaction still stems from a strict ethical code that is "good" at its heart.  That is what I like about the over-simplified system that D&D created is that it allows for player ingenuity to flush out extremely polar ideas, and genuine interest to give its world real life.  So lets hear it for D&D's alignment system!

P.S. I hope this makes a lick of sense.
 

Stephen_Zuckerman

Re: Rant rant rant
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2007, 04:52:27 pm »
Darkstorme's got it. Allow me to say that, first and foremost; a lot of what I am about to say will be just another way of saying what he's already said, and better than I will. (Though mainly on the alignments bit.)  Secondly. Rollplaying versus Roleplaying. There is a HUGE difference here.  Rollplaying is what you do in a random kick-in-the-door, Monty Haul dungeon-crawl, where you run through, roll some dice, LAY OUT SOME PWNAGE, and walk off feeling satisfied in your brutality. It's what you do when your idea of convincing someone to do something is to roll a Persuade check. It's what you do when you're more concerned with whether to take Improved Bull Rush or Improved Sunder than whether your character is drawn to the mysterious darkness of Corath or the shining, stark light of Toran. It's fun for all of ten minutes.  Roleplaying is getting into character... It's suspending your disbelief, ignoring the fact that it's just a bunch of pixels on a screen, and trying to put across the actions that that person you've created in-game would really take. It's when you decide to wink at the pawn shop lass and step closer, holding a pretty bauble at eye level between you as your gaze catches hers, and ask her just what she meant by "strange occurances." ;)  Don't take that as an attack on your wording; Aeon - just an old rant I wanted to get out, myself. Roll vs Role.  Anyhow...  Alignments are NOT hard-and-fast rules. We can take a look at two paladins, both LG, with COMPLETELY different personalities. Giant In the Playground Games One is Miko... As we've discussed, she's pretty... Well, let's leave it at rude and authoritarian. Basically, your typical Moral Policeman that most people think of when they think Paladin. On the other hand, we have the son of Lord Shojo, who is a decidedly jovial, fun, nice fellow. He still follows his rules very closely, and is a very Good guy, but that doesn't mean that he's an unreasonable person.  Alignments are not, in any way, restrictive. They're clear cut, yes. They're quite obvious... Good and Evil are black and white in D&D. But that doesn't mean that no Good character ever commits Evil acts. Pyyran, for example, has nothing against killing a very dangerous, evil man in cold blood. After all, if he didn't, that very dangerous, evil man could very well kill him, and lots and lots of other people. On the one hand, he commits an Evil act - murder. On the other, he commits a much greater Good act - keeping lots of people safe. The only reason he sleeps at night is because he's been at it so long. Experience will harden a person against moral dilemmas, if, in the end, it works out to be "the right thing."  In terms of Law versus Chaos, Pyyran has been slowly developing his own moral code. It's gone from swing decisions in his youth, to calculated, fully-thought-out decisions, later in his career. This isn't to say he doesn't still jump very quickly to his decision - years of experience have taught him to recognize whether or not a big decision is the "right" or "wrong" one, and healthy doses of intuition and luck seal the deal. Still, he's very firmly Neutral - he has his own code which he holds to, but it consists of extreme generalities; anything more strict, and he would be constantly bending or breaking it. In terms of the laws of the land... If he finds them suitable, he'll follow them, and even uphold them. If not, he breaks them without breaking stride.  I use my own character as an example because, frankly, I know the character best, and it's easy to make examples when I've already thought it out. Lots.  And of course, there's nothing wrong with breaking alignment from time to time... After all, even the most Lawful of John Q.s will still drive too fast, park in a no-park zone, or illegally download music off of the internet. I'm not advocating breaking alignment... After all, John Q isn't likely to go stick up the Wachovia, but it's not like one's alignment dictates one's actions.  Let me say that again.  One's alignment does not dictate one's actions. One's alignment merely describes the trends in one's actions.  (As this is the strongest point in my post, I made it noticeable.
 

Ondioline

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    Re: Rant rant rant
    « Reply #6 on: March 19, 2007, 05:00:54 pm »
    Alignment makes a lot of sense with NPCs and monsters.  After all, it's not possible or necessary to give every goblin and shopkeeper a complex personality.  But as far as PCs go...  In an ideal, well-run pen and paper campaign with a talented DM and competent players I believe alignment should be tossed out the window.  A well conceived character should have their personality and motives well thought out in advance and be allowed to have chinks in the armor, mood swings and actions against "type" as warranted by the events that unfold around them.  Paladins, clerics, druids, others who follow dieties already have strict and well defined rules to live by, they don't need the extra layer of alignment to keep them in line.  At the same time an agnostic fighter, wizard or thief doesn't necessarily need to IF their personality and motivations are well thought out, IF they are able to properly deal with the consequences of their actions (i.e. pangs of guilt) or the actions of their companions, and IF the DM is able to properly deal with the cause and effects, such as intervention from the laws of the land as well as the character's reputation among NPCs.  Those are some pretty big "Ifs" though and not really possible in this environment..

    It just comes down to the amount of complexity allowed in a character to me.  Compelling figures in both history literature are hard to peg, alignment-wise, because they are often capable of acts from all over the alignment spectrum.  I don't know that that's possible here, nor is it desirable.

    Of course, this isn't pen and paper with a DM in control, this is a video game so there's not much that could be done to change things, even if the powers that be wanted to (which I can only assume they don't.)  And at the same time while we are PCs, none of us are the "star" here, and it does make sense that you have to earn the ability to have major personality shifts. Really, in the end we're all inhabiting a fantasy world painted with broad strokes here, not a complex psychological drama.

    At least the whole concept of "alignment languages" seem to be gone from the early days of AD&D, now THAT was ridiculous..
     

    gilshem ironstone

    Re: Rant rant rant
    « Reply #7 on: March 19, 2007, 05:52:33 pm »
    Stephen your thoughts on drama are mantra in my life and it was very good of you to bring it up.  Drama is unfortunate but inevitable and the best way to deal with it is to face the problem and work through it.  I for one will promise to always do that with anyone who I have a peeve with and I encourage all to do the same with me.  A little confrontation can sometimes make the world a more trusting and easier place to be and it is rarely as bad as anyone thinks it is.
     

    Acacea

    Re: Rant rant rant
    « Reply #8 on: March 19, 2007, 06:03:26 pm »
    I had a rather long reply written yesterday, but went "meh" and left it unsubmitted, apparently letting darkstorme and Stephen do the rebutting not so much with the exact points brought up in the original post, but rather the conclusions reached with them. As in, of course people need complexity and weaknesses and temptations in most characters, but that's not a sign so much of how terrible the system is, but rather how terrible the interpretations of it are. As stated above, they're meant to be guidelines, not straitjackets.

    On the alignments  being unrealistic, I would mostly agree - but not for the reasons listed originally, since as mentioned a few times, they are symbolic of trends, not 100% infallibility. Rather, I would venture to say that the vast majority of People In General really fall around True Neutral, which aspirations towards Good...ie they would like to think of themselves as good, but most wait for someone else to do good first, are more concerned with who is doing Evil to them, or cannot act without reward. In addition, when such acts of benevolence occur and are seen as proof they are Good People, pillars of humanity, etc, acts of greed, maliciousness, or the small petty things are glossed over as the mistakes and weaknesses...but if they're really happening just as (in)frequently as unasked for acts of compassion or righteousness (whatever your bag is), and the majority lies in the apathetic bubble of isolation and actions that do not escape the planning state, do they not actually just cancel each other out leaving one in a state close to neutrality?

    So yes... I would say few normal people are of ANY extreme alignment, from those who WISH they were good but have no motivation or care to be so, to the young types who like to think they're chaotic evil because they put ants under a magnifying glass. But as we know, our PCs aren't the common majority, anyway. They are the weird ones! ;)



    Quote from: Stephen_Zuckerman
    There's another group, however, who don't come to me directly, but whine about such-and-such to mutual friends. Now, I don't have any problem with people coming to me with issues. None at all. But I can't FIX those problems if they don't come to me.

    And that's the root of all the big problems that get blown out of proportion.


    I can't help but laugh like mad for a minute there...haha...agreed, but laughing
     

    AeonBlues

    Re: Rant rant rant
    « Reply #9 on: March 21, 2007, 12:12:38 am »
    No one is rebutting the power gaming part  of my post, which is good.  Mostly power gaming has nothing to do with how you level.  I level fairly on the quick side, but I am very active playing in one or two DM events a week and monster bashing when ever I can find a good party.  When players level to 14 in two weeks, it gets kind of ridiculous.  I mean, what is the point of having an epic character that has no history, and little development.  I think of power gaming mostly when players power build their characters to be the most absolutely devastating characters with fewest weakness that the game mechanics allows.  

    Yah, I am reading these responses over and over, but I still am not seeing any good reason as to why we need or should use alignments.  

    As far as alignments are considered I am just reading how alignments work, or should work, or when they work, and oh yes, even playing out side of these alignments can be good RP.

    *Points his finger at Darkstorme*  You say that lawful does not mean following a code of the land but "Follows a careful personal code, moralistic or behavioral"

    You know what, all clerics of all alignments have dogma that they must follow.  A CG cleric of Az'atta is forbidden to use poison on weapons.  Does that mean those clerics are acting lawful because they follow a strict dogma that exists with in their church?  No.  Following personal and religious codes of ethics has absolutely nothing to do with any alignment.  It has to do with beliefs, and beliefs supersede any alignment.

    As Stephen says, alignment is just a guide line.  The responses I am reading clearly emphasize the versatility of the alignment system, but not a necessity.

    Excuse me if I sound like I'm ranting, but if the alignment system is so great, then how come so many great role playing systems don't use it?  Ha HA!!  As far as I know, D&D and Palladium are the only ones that do.  GURPS has an incredible character generation system, and does not use alignments.  What GURPS uses is advantages, disadvantages, and personality quirks.  I think it would be a great benefit to our role playing community if we were required to write disadvantages and personality quirks into our character bios.  The impact would be experientially better for our RP then ensuring character bios match chosen alignments.  The fact that so many bios must be changed due to alignment not matching or not explaining chosen alignments only demonstrates that alignments distract players from the true personalities of their characters.

    I know I know, this is D&D and D&D uses the alignment system.  The game mechanics and spell system are so woven with the alignment system, that it would be impossible to break away.  So why don't I play GURPS?  The answer is that I think the GURPS dice system is slow and it's spell system is boring.  I love the game mechanics and speed of the D20 system.  Diceless role playing is the ultimate crowning perfection of form in the role playing world, but it takes a better GM then me to run  a diceless game.

    Aeon Blues
     

    stragen

    Re: Powerbuilding and Disadvantages
    « Reply #10 on: March 21, 2007, 09:13:33 am »
    Quote from: AeonBlues
    No one is rebutting the power gaming part  of my post, which is good.  Mostly power gaming has nothing to do with how you level. ...   I think of power gaming mostly when players power build their characters to be the most absolutely devastating characters with fewest weakness that the game mechanics allows.  


    Fair enough I will attempt a rebuttal.  

    There is nothing more disappointing then having a character who, in game mechanics, doesn't meet the desired metal image that the player had of the character during creation.

    All characters have weakness.  What you refer to is 'non-combat' weakness when talking about power-gamming.  Due to the nature of power-gamming any 'high combat power' character will have gaping weaknesses, when compared to a rounded character.  However not all characters are rounded.  Nevertheless some character builds will be overall weaker then others if inappropriate skills and feats are selected during the building and leveling process.

    The tactic, we need to explore is educated and help players build characters that fit the description and biography.  That is which feats classes and skills will match their desired mental image of the character.  You want to create a swordman? ... This character build appears simple enough, yet there are a range of different paths that could be taken: a pure fighter, a weapon master, even a duelist or a rogue.  What are the important feats for your character?  If everyone knew the implications of every character building decision then they would be able to make better informed choices... and thus be happier with their character builds.  For example a defensive swordsman could either use the parry skill (and feats to improve parry) or expertise.  But it doesn't make sense to use both paths.  Both paths sacrifice offence for defense.  This also includes the implications of non-combat skills.  For example, the swordsman you wish to create is a body guard type character, who has extremely keen senses.  What should his starting stats be?  Do you know how many skill points you will have to put in spot and listen each level?  Are they cross class skills for the class you choose?  Do you need a second class added to provide this ability?

    By educating players and helping them build characters that match their ideals we will empower them.  Thus an open discussion on power-builds will be healthy for the community.  

    Bring power-building into the light, then everyone will have characters that match their image of them during creation.


    Quote from: AeonBlues


    I think it would be a great benefit to our role playing community if we were required to write disadvantages and personality quirks into our character bios.  
    Aeon Blues


    This is a good idea.  Let me see if I can find the link to GURPS lite.  There is a short list of advantages and disadvantages in GURPS lite.

    GURPS Lite
     

    LynnJuniper

    Re: Powerbuilding and Disadvantages
    « Reply #11 on: March 21, 2007, 10:24:13 am »
    Quote from: stragen
    The tactic, we need to explore is educated and help players build characters that fit the description and biography.

    I could not agree more. Sadly after writing a huge biography and getting all the little kinks out as per the requests of the character approvers this is usually the last thing on one's mind. For example: For all I wrote for my new character Yaa'sar (I actually filled out a HUGE Biography), I never once considered the connection between those things and how to portray those things.

    With skills its easy, with feats its a bit harder. You must ultimately remember

    1. What makes sense for the class that your character is roleplayed into
    2. What makes sense for the character themself, before the class was ever applied.

    Example: Rhynn's a Wizard. INT. Spellcraft, Lore [Let me once again State here how much I wish we had the Knowledge (Expertise) System of Lore. ] Concentration Right?

    Well Yes.

    But Also in Rhynn's case. She's a smooth talker, something she's developed over time with mediating her family, Saebhel and then afterwards..so: CHA, Persuade, Bluff, and yes..Intimidate. She's a scary lady. Healing comes in from dealing with her siblings beating each other up. And if Perform was ever open, I would put a few ranks in that too.

    however if I had thought more appropriately during character creation on her attributes I probably would have taken a few points from CON, and WIS, and put more into CHA.


    That's just an example , and a long way to follow up Stragen's post.

    So before I loose myself, once again:

    Quote from: stragen
    The tactic, we need to explore is educated and help players build characters that fit the description and biography.
     

    Faldred

    Re: Powerbuilding and Disadvantages
    « Reply #12 on: March 21, 2007, 10:48:41 am »
    Quote from: stragen
    By educating players and helping them build characters that match their ideals we will empower them. Thus an open discussion on power-builds will be healthy for the community.

    I'd be in favor of that.  Every so-called "powerbuild" still has its strengths and weaknesses, so I've got no problem helping people make "idealized" characters.  The submissions process and rules prevents the most abusive powergaming tactics anway.

    As a character approver (admittedly a new one), I would not mind taking the extra time to work with the submitter to create a "build plan" for the character that matches his or her character bio and description.  Not only will this help players develop characters that make more sense with their submitted bios, it would also help prevent newer players from making poor decisions that will hinder the growth of an otherwise solid character (or are otherwise at odds with the character's concept and development).

    A "build plan" like this would not be a "munchkinization" exercise, but rather, like LynnJuniper points out, a means to help the player capture the essence of the character as best as possible within the game engine's choices.  Every character is going to be different, and be "suboptimal" in a different way.

    The trick is going to be coming up with a way to help guide players without coming across as imposing decisions on them.  Also, I know I'm not an expert on how to play every single class out there, and I'm sure most others are in the same boat.
     

    minerva

    Re: Rant rant rant
    « Reply #13 on: March 21, 2007, 11:03:38 am »
    This is covered in the Roleplaying Guide found at neverwinter vault and is a must read for new and not so new players.
     

    darkstorme

    Re: Powerbuilding and Disadvantages
    « Reply #14 on: March 21, 2007, 02:38:00 pm »
    Quote from: LynnJuniper
    I could not agree more. Sadly after writing a huge biography and getting all the little kinks out as per the requests of the character approvers this is usually the last thing on one's mind. For example: For all I wrote for my new character Yaa'sar (I actually filled out a HUGE Biography), I never once considered the connection between those things and how to portray those things.


    Speaking as a newly minted character approver, I view the process of getting the "kinks" out as dual-purposed.  First, it allows us to make sure that everyone gets even treatment and adheres to the rules, with a character build that doesn't violate any of the tenets of the gameworld as it exists.  (No half-dragon demigods!  *shakes fist* ;) ) Second, and equally important, I hope that after someone has been approved, they have fully fleshed out their character in their own head.  As I recently posted, by making sure that history, personality, and appearance have been considered, there should never be a question of "How would my character react to this?"  You know how they would react.

    (Note, of course, this doesn't mean that they'll react calmly to any event.  They may be startled, horrified, disgusted, surprised, delighted, terrified... etc.  But you'll know which it will be.)
     

    LynnJuniper

    Re: Rant rant rant
    « Reply #15 on: March 21, 2007, 03:25:55 pm »
    I agree with that as well, and after more than a few times through the character creation process I know now to have all of that fleshed out. Yaa'sar's bio was so big because he was lawful, I'm by nature, chaotic, and it would take a lot for me to get into a lawful mindset. It was more for me than for the process of approval.

    But yes, still agreed on everything said. Looking back a year ago at being a new player though, Sometimes you just want into the game so bad that you  don't figure out every possible situation and how your character would react (or even minor historical details for the character) until a bit into the game where you're more comfortable with it.

    Its not like you can cruise through the game first hand (you can read and read and read) and then make your first character with a bit of understanding. It has to come in time :)
     

    Stephen_Zuckerman

    Re: Rant rant rant
    « Reply #16 on: March 21, 2007, 04:56:01 pm »
    Allow me to clarify something about my post and my stance.

    Alignments are NOT A GUIDELINE. They are a DESCRIPTION.

    There is a big difference in reasoning between:

    "My character follows his own code very strictly. Therefore, he's Lawful!"

    and

    "My character is Lawful. Therefore, he follows his own code very strictly!"

    Alignments are an OOC mechanic. They are a classification of a character BASED ON THEIR TRAITS, not the other way around.

    Similarly, one can argue the same for all the numbers, but I think most of the confusion on alignments comes from the idea that alignments define the character...

    Alignments do NOT define the character's actions.

    The characters actions define the alignment.
     

    Drizzlin

    Re: Rant rant rant
    « Reply #17 on: March 21, 2007, 06:22:30 pm »
    I think you are completely missing the point of alignments and that this is a game, with RULES. The rules are there for a reason, and one of those rules are alignments. People want to play an evil character and the rules are there to tell them what they can or can not do. That doesn't mean they can not do a random act of kindness, because if they did the dm can shift their alignment slightly.

    And Rastlin's acts of kindness, were always centered around him. When he didn't end the world because of Caramen, it was a choice because he didnt' want to rule over nothing with all the gods dead and the world destroyed.

    While I agree that some people take alignments to the extreme, I think you are missing the point. The alignment system is the same as the dex penalties on armor, racial bonuses & negatives, ect ect. They are limitations and rules set to define how we are suppose to play a character in the game. After all that is what we are doing, playing a game, with rules. I think it is a problem when people forget that and think it is all about their PC and how they would roleplay thier pc, rather than think "this is an rp game, with rules that allow me to roleplay a certain way."

    There are RP games out there that do not have alignments for pcs, and the rules for those games are created that way, D&D is not one of them.

    Edit: Forgive the typos and errors. I am teaching/watching over Lab today.
     

    Drizzlin

    Re: Rant rant rant
    « Reply #18 on: March 21, 2007, 06:35:36 pm »
    Quote from: AeonBlues
    No one is rebutting the power gaming part  of my post, which is good.  Mostly power gaming has nothing to do with how you level.  I level fairly on the quick side, but I am very active playing in one or two DM events a week and monster bashing when ever I can find a good party.  When players level to 14 in two weeks, it gets kind of ridiculous.  I mean, what is the point of having an epic character that has no history, and little development.  I think of power gaming mostly when players power build their characters to be the most absolutely devastating characters with fewest weakness that the game mechanics allows.  

    Yah, I am reading these responses over and over, but I still am not seeing any good reason as to why we need or should use alignments.  

    As far as alignments are considered I am just reading how alignments work, or should work, or when they work, and oh yes, even playing out side of these alignments can be good RP.

    *Points his finger at Darkstorme*  You say that lawful does not mean following a code of the land but "Follows a careful personal code, moralistic or behavioral"

    You know what, all clerics of all alignments have dogma that they must follow.  A CG cleric of Az'atta is forbidden to use poison on weapons.  Does that mean those clerics are acting lawful because they follow a strict dogma that exists with in their church?  No.  Following personal and religious codes of ethics has absolutely nothing to do with any alignment.  It has to do with beliefs, and beliefs supersede any alignment.

    As Stephen says, alignment is just a guide line.  The responses I am reading clearly emphasize the versatility of the alignment system, but not a necessity.

    Excuse me if I sound like I'm ranting, but if the alignment system is so great, then how come so many great role playing systems don't use it?  Ha HA!!  As far as I know, D&D and Palladium are the only ones that do.  GURPS has an incredible character generation system, and does not use alignments.  What GURPS uses is advantages, disadvantages, and personality quirks.  I think it would be a great benefit to our role playing community if we were required to write disadvantages and personality quirks into our character bios.  The impact would be experientially better for our RP then ensuring character bios match chosen alignments.  The fact that so many bios must be changed due to alignment not matching or not explaining chosen alignments only demonstrates that alignments distract players from the true personalities of their characters.

    I know I know, this is D&D and D&D uses the alignment system.  The game mechanics and spell system are so woven with the alignment system, that it would be impossible to break away.  So why don't I play GURPS?  The answer is that I think the GURPS dice system is slow and it's spell system is boring.  I love the game mechanics and speed of the D20 system.  Diceless role playing is the ultimate crowning perfection of form in the role playing world, but it takes a better GM then me to run  a diceless game.

    Aeon Blues


    Understand that alignment is a tool that also allows people to to play PRCs, clerics, paladins, monks, ect. If you don't follow the alignments, you can not play those classes. It boils back down to the alignment being there as a rule and guideline to follow.

    There are a lot of other games out there that use things similar to alignment systems. All of the whitewolf material used beast traits or what ever it was they went from there.
     

    AeonBlues

    Re: Rant rant rant
    « Reply #19 on: March 21, 2007, 06:59:05 pm »
    Quote from: AeonBlues


    I know I know, this is D&D and D&D uses the alignment system.  The game mechanics and spell system are so woven with the alignment system, that it would be impossible to break away.


    *sighs*

    Aeon Blues
     

     

    anything