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RPG Thoughts

Been thinking about this the last little while, and after a long, long discussion on the subject, I'm wondering.  In some RPGs, there are sacrifices and losses a character can suffer.  What do you consider 'acceptable'?


There's an obvious one of course -- loss of HP / character death.  A character can get injured, or even killed in an RPG.  Of couse, there's also adding to the mix the idea of crippling or permanent injuries.  Sure, in some games there's just the 'Hit Point' stat, or the 'Health Boxes', but what if the GM wants those injuries to mean something?  What if NPCs decide to go for called shots (and of course, characters can do that too).  Is it acceptable to lose a hand, or an eye?  Barring the use of healing magic (or even allowing for healing magic), what if some injuries are permanent?  What if the GM rules that healing magic excellerates healing, but doesn't regenerate wounds?

Then there's those that are less obvious.  There's loss of equipment.  A character might lose their favourite item (or just a really useful item), or piece of equipment.  It could be stolen, broken, or sacrificed.  To what extent is this acceptable?  If you're fighting a bad guy, and the bad guy isn't aiming for you, but your stuff, does this change the game?  (You're prone to doing more damage initially, but if the bad guy succeeds, you're suffering long-term).  If a bad guy wipes out your magic weapon, then what?  Or what if the only way to gain something / get somewhere requires the sacrifice of a prised object?  (Thinking of my wife in the recent nWoD session, who gave up one of her prised possessions in exchange for knowledge on how to defeat an enemy).

Then there's other losses.  There's backgrounds, such as NPCs or friends of the character, but it can go beyond that.  Depending on the game, you could lose things like memories, or 'advantages', background points, skills, attributes, experience points.  Someone mentioned that the character sheet is sacrosanct, but I have to disagree.  Anything which exists on the character is subject to manipulation by the environment.  You could have contacts and allies, but if someone tries very hard, they could weaken your connection to them (or just kill them off).  A crippling injury could limit how well you use a skill.  Magic can alter these traits.

And the thing is -- if the game master is willing to give such things, they should also be able to take such things away.  If the PC is capable of being given things (whether or not it costs), then such things should also be able to be taken away.  I gave Cat's character the weapon mentioned earlier -- she paid points to keep it.  She just gave it away (though yes, I'm giving the XP back for it, since what she gained doesn't have an XP value).

Now, personally, I dislike loss.  I like overcoming obstacles, coming out ahead, and shining.  But I also accept that such isn't usually how things work.  This means, when facing adversity, I'll be willing to try moving heaven and earth to overcome or avoid the obstacles in my way.  This may require a cunning plan, or having the right tools for the job, or backing off and trying another avenue.  These don't always work.  I accept that as part of the RPG experience -- you have a goal in mind, the game master provides the challenges appropriate to the goal, and you try to overcome the challenges.  Everything else is variants on that theme -- (the GM is working with you to try to tell a story, or the GM is playing arbiter and playing the environment, or the GM is the adversary which needs to be overcome, whatever).




In some cases, as a game master, I screw with the characters.  This isn't malicious ... err.  Hmm, let me explain this better.  I lay out circumstances for the players.  I then allow the players to either engage the circumstances, or avoid them.  I always give the characters 'outs', so that they can recover from the circumstances I present, and carry on.  How much is done to the characters depends on how much the characters walk into the circumstances, and how much they work together to get themselves out of it.  In some cases, I'm more malicious than in others, but that depends on 1) the game, and 2) the opposition to the characters at the time.

For example, in my Legend of the Five Rings game, the PCs were near the Shadowlands in Crab territory (IE, beside the big evil place of doom).  Kyoso no Oni had infiltrated the area (a demoness), and was keeping tabs on the PCs.  The PCs at this point were Rank 5-6 (elite), and thus, this was a suitable challenge for them.  There was a shugenja in the group (mage/priest) who I knew was the most vulnerable person in the group.  So, she approached him, and offered to teach him mahou (dark magic).  She was very careful about what she offered, and how she offered it, explaining things very carefully, and in a manner which she thought he would be receptive to.

It worked like a charm.  She also trained him to channel taint into the environment, rather than be infected with it himself (thus hiding the fact he's performing dark magic) -- again, she was very careful in describing what to do and how to do it.  He went for it, hook, line, and sinker.  So, the PCs now had a mahou-tsukai in the party.  In the end, he got a spell called Dances with Demons (though she called it something else), which allowed you to give yourself advantages, or to give flaws to your enemies.

Now, of course, this pretty much damns the character.  Once the PCs find out he's using mahou, they'll kill him.  If anyone else finds out he's using mahou... they'll kill him.  The player found out what happened, and went 'oh crap', but... got this big grin on his face.  Then he decided to cast his new spell.  To give his teacher a flaw.  The flaw in question was True Love -- connected to him.

I was, admittedly, shocked.  That was really clever.  And eventually, it meant that Kyoso no Oni was willing to help the PCs out some.  Specifically, so she could tempt the shugenja more, and draw him to her.  And eventually, she dragged him off into the Shadowlands to become her demon lover.  This effectively ended play for the character, but he didn't mind in the slightest (and even made a cameo later, to help the PCs in a huge battle...)

I like placing temptations in front of the characters -- and in most cases, my players can tell when I'm being evil.  I have a certain tone of voice that I apparently use ( a 'tell') when I'm setting something up.  Even so though, my players more often than not are willing to take the hit (or spring the trap, or take the bait, or make the bargain) because they know that -- while I'm going to put the character through the wringer -- it makes the game interesting, and it becomes a test to see how much the characters can get before they go to far and screw themselves over too much.  Pacts with demons?  Sure.  Willing to sell your soul to a dark god for power?  Okay.  Making bargains with the vampires?  Sure.  Negotiation with a True Fae?  Okay.  Reading dark books of forbidden lore to gain the means to summon horrors beyond space and time?  Of course.

There's a negative side to this of course.  I had one player in an Exalted game with an over-developed sense of entitlement.  The character was a Solar, with a Lunar ally.  The two were lovers, and during a visit into one of the tombs, the Solar encountered an Abyssal.  The two played the seduction game with each other and made out... and the Lunar was not pleased.  It ended with the Lunar walking away, to rejoin his group and 'think about things', and abandoning the character.  The player didn't try to get the Lunar back, and was upset about things.  A second incident involved the PCs finding a balor trapped in a circle.  The balor took the appearance of an attractive male, and so the character (same player as the Solar) decided to break the circle because she found him attractive, and presumed he'd want her.  Well... yes and no.  He claimed her, and effectively pulled her to the infernal realms.




A discussion I had not too long ago involved what makes a hero and what a hero does.  I dug up the definition from Wikipedia to use as an example, as well as my own personal view of what a hero is (someone who does the right thing because it is the right thing, and doesn't expect reward.  Someone who, knowing that the cost may be steep, moves ahead anyway).  Cat mentioned last night that a good example for what defines a hero would be from Kingdom Come.  The person I was discussing with thought that heoes who continued, even after suffering crippling losses or adversity, with little or no reward, were essentially idiots, and didn't agree with the popular conception of what a Hero is.

I very much like the idea of heroic roleplay.  As I mentioned, I don't like suffering losses, but being a hero means having to deal with loss and adversity.  I'm one for 'doing the right thing' and I'm usually willing to suffer serious setbacks to do so.  That's the price for being a hero, and I often expect that there will usually be some reward for it down the line.  Often, this will be intangibles, like the respect of those you have helped.  A little bit of fame, maybe.  But in general, depending on the game, these don't even have to be present.  You're not doing it for the respect and fame (or wealth, or what-have-you), you're doing it because that's what you do.

In nWoD games, I tend to try for characters who have a higher than normal 'Morality' score.  I'll save up the XP to bump things up to 8 (or perhaps, sometimes, 9), and try my best to keep at that level.  It's hard, but it's also rewarding.  I've made the exception (my main Vampire character has a Humanity of ... 5?) but that's because that's how I picture him.  He's a fairly feral Gangrel, and it makes sense, considering what and who he is, to keep his Humanity floating around that level.  The thing is, building a character with that high 'moral' standard is setting yourself up for a fall.  Either you're going to slip (and risk losing a point), or you're going to need to sacrifice (to keep that point).  It's a lose-lose situation, but I think that's what makes things good.  Or at least interesting.

Sure, some characters can be mercenary -- I'm fine with that -- but there's a line there.  Sometimes, the character has to do what they do for a good cause, not because they're getting paid.  One of my friends played mercenary characters a lot.  These were professionals (and as a player, I'd often have to hire the character to work with the PCs).  The thing is, sure, I'm spending resources to get another PC to go with us... but the amount of effort the character put into helping far exceeded what we were paying.  It tended to be a good relationship -- the character fit a specific archetype, and sure, it meant in general he had more money than us (Shadowrun), but the character would come bail us out from time to time, and ask a token sum for his assistance, and in turn we'd help him with something-or-other, and he'd accept that he owed us, so he'd do us favours from time to time.  It was all very organic and reasonably realistic and quite interesting.

A character who always expects reward and compensation, without at least showing off some of the heroic aspects is a tougher character.  I notice that my play group tends to not like characters like that, and will deliberately sabotage the character if the character gives them a reason.  Essentially, the attitude is 'we help one another, without thought of cost.  You don't want to be a part of our 'family', you don't get treated like family'.  In some cases, they'll treat the character as what the character is -- mercenary, or selfish -- but if the character shows sign of being disdainful of the group, things can go sour.  This is usually self-correcting, or barring that the player will usually make a new character that can work with the group better.




Now, here's where things get difficult.  How much communication should exist between the game master and the players, when it comes to aspects of play.  There's the obvious ones, of course:  'this is what we're playing', 'this is what I'm hoping for', and 'this is the game environment'.  These are more or less no-brainers, though I notice with my group the communication has dipped a bit simply because beyond the layout of the game itself, the players know who I am and how I run, and to some extent know what to expect.  For new players (and I mean new players -- those who aren't used to RPGs), I also take a bit of a guiding hand.  I keep an eye on the player, offer advice, talk with them after sessions, and generally look for certain cues to see how they're reacting and if they're having fun.

That doesn't mean I hold back, though.  I'm willing to give advice and help them, but they're playing on the same level as everyone else is.  This has generally worked out well, I've had two 'fresh' players who seemed to really enjoy themselves (and one seemed to delight in deliberately screwing his own character ... I think he went through three characters in one campaign... grinning the whole time... as referenced by the L5R session I mentioned above).  I don't feel right treating any one player 'different' than the others.  I lay out the circumstances, they walk in, and the chips fall where they may.

But the question becomes... what about during play?  How much information should the GM give?  Should the GM give information that the characters don't know?  Should the GM warn the players when they're about to do something stupid?  What if there's merits or advantages which allow such?  I'm usually one to give the characters enough rope to hang themselves.  I'm also one to warn the players if the character is about to do something critically stupid -- something which can't be undone.  General mishaps are fine, and things the characters do which could be damaging, but not game-ending, I'm willing to let slide.  Basically, my view is that the players are adults, and thus can handle the slings and arrows of misfortune.  It's only when things are going to go seriously, seriously south that I'm willing to step in and give a warning.  Mind you, sometimes the temptation is just too great for some people, and they do it anyway, but such is life.

As a player, I'm willing to accept a lot.  If I'm having trouble, I'm willing to sit down and talk with the GM about it.  I'm even willing to do this on behalf of other players.  I consider it better than walking from a game.  Is there a problem?  Well, let's hash things out and see where things stand.  With a new GM (his second campaign, ever), I mentioned that he wasn't allowing the players to use their backgrounds (or in some cases, abilities).  My character was a duellist.  He never got a chance to fight a single duel, even though this was his job in the city.  Cat's character was a cleric / rogue.  In a dungeon crawl, there were no traps, and each level we went down nerfed cleric abilities.  So... what was her purpose again?  She was also an inventor, and had no opportunities to sit down and actually invent, which essentually made her 'a dwarf with a gun'.  I sat down with the GM and we talked about this -- I offered some advice, and we went on.  So far, it's been good.

I also accept, as a player, that different GMs have different styles of game mastering.  This GM is new at it, and he wants to do 'stories' of a sort.  He's got this big campaign in mind, and a huge, epic story arc, and we're taking part.  It isn't my preferred style of game, but so be it.  Another GM is running Scion, and he's not taking the game too seriously.  There's perhaps some story elements in it, but essentially the players get to do what they want.  This shows in the game -- we've been all over the place, but it's fun as all hell.  We're getting the chance to explore the setting, and see the underside of 'how things are'.  (And I accidentally got the titans to attack Mexico City. Oops, next session we have to fix this...)  He likes his epic games with big heroes, and that's fine.  I don't tend to make 'big heroes', but I do make heroes, and while he has a little trouble handling the characters I make, he does admit it has helped him become a better GM and give him ideas, and I aim not to break his game.  So it works out.  If either of us have a problem, we're willing to sit down and talk it out.

But yeah, it is generally understood that the game itself?  You have what your character knows, and you deal with it like that.  Sometimes, the crap hits the fan, but that's part of the game.  Hey, if someone challenges my character to a game of 'press your luck' where we each take draws from the Deck of Many Things until one of us blows up, and I agree, then that's that.  Let the chips fall where they may.  If a dragon offers to 'assist' me in something, and the dragon is evil, and I agree, then I have to accept the consequences of that decision regardless of how bad it gets.  Does this require the GM to tell me I might suffer for my decision?  Of course not.  Do I need to know there's strings attached?  Not really.  This is a roleplaying game.  This kind of thing happens.



Finis.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
ad1066
Oct. 18th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
A long time ago I used to have a bit of a problem with how I viewed my characters, in relation to how a friend of mine was running their games.

We grew up playing Cyberpunk, and my friend wanted, above all else, to get across to the players the idea that this was a *dangerous* world our characters were living in, where one could get randomly shot at while going around the corner to buy smokes, and we frequently did.

Now there are several ways of responding to this. You can damn the consequences, and wade through the hail of bullets, or you can do the 'realistic' thing, and never go outside again. I chose to do the latter.

The result of this? I spent entire sessions of the game not actually playing, because the GM didn't know what do with me (ironically, if I had been playing a Netrunner this wouldn't be as much of an issue, but in the example I'm giving, I was playing a Tech). I had (unconsciously) built up this idea in my head that my character was this fragile thing, like a glass figurine, that was meant to sit on a shelf and be looked at, but not ever handled, lest it be damaged, cracked, shattered, breathed on wrong, etc. "Look at this perfect model of a real human being I've created, isn't it beautiful? All the attributes and skills and equipment arranged just so. Oh no, I can't actually go outside, I might get jumped, and it takes forever to heal up, assuming you actually survive."

This is the danger of too much immersion. When you identify with your character too much, you stop taking risks, and that ends up stopping the story dead in its tracks. I'm not saying my GM was entirely blameless in this either, they really needed to lighten up just a little. There were a million ways that they could drive home the deadliness of the setting without the PCs getting attacked every 5 minutes for no reason. Fortunately, we've both learned a lot since then, and we're both better for it.

My advice is that people sometimes need to take a step back, stop immersing themselves so much, and look not just at the character itself, but the story as a whole, and their character's place in it.



I'd had the beginnings of an idea for a system a while ago where your character had traits attached to them, like backgrounds & such, and they were classified as either (for want of better names) Volatile or Non-Volatile.

Non-Volatile traits were un-fuck-with-able, they were off-limits to the GM's drama machine. If you had something like 'Millionaire' as a NVT, this was a Fact(tm) within the game world, and your character's financial status would never be called into question. Here's the thing: fat lot of good it does you when you're on your own in a dark alley against three guys with baseball bats. Now, of course, someone could be a smartass and take something like 'Unkillable' as a NVT, and that's fine, it just means that their character won't die during the course of the story. But there's all kinds of other things the GM is then free to inflict on the character to make them wish they were dead. Kill their NPC friends and family, maim them, ruin their reputation, squash their plans, etc.

Conversely, Volatile traits were the player's way of saying "This is the stuff you can screw around with during the story", with the *expectation* that the GM would do so. You can have a girlfriend as a VT, and the GM knows that they have free reign to make a subplot about the girlfriend being threatened, or getting killed, or dumping the PC, or cheating on them, or whatever. And the player is fine with this, because they know where the drama is coming from, but more importantly, they were the ones that decided it would be so. What really needs to be rewarded is when a player switches a trait from Non-Volatile to Volatile.

-- Ben
terrycloth
Oct. 18th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
I'm leery about gotchas during a game because genuine boneheaded stupidity is not obviously more common than miscommunication. This means that unless I'm in a situation that's explicitly tricksy, I'm always going to warn the PCs if they're doing something stupid or likely to fail. Make sure to remind them of the things that their characters should know in case their players forgot during the four weeks since they were told yesterday.

So when I'm playing, it's *annoying* when GMs rely on gotchas. It's one way that I might feel like the GM is, essentially, cheating. Other ways include putting the players in impossible situations with no out (or with some obscure out that no one could reasonably think of, which is very very common). And if I feel like the GM is cheating, I'm not going to be very happy about getting killed or losing important things (or even having horrible things happen to the world with the implication being I should have stopped them but HA HA).

In general, I prefer less serious games (which tend to not include things like losing an eye to a critical hit table or a called shot) because they're more fun anyway. When I'm forced into playing in some dark evil world of horror I usually play lighthearted optimistic characters anyway. Or cynical and apathetic characters. Ones that aren't going to be traumatized by the horrific consequences of their inevitable failures. A lot of times that means I end up playing characters that really should be villains. o.o;
spross
Oct. 18th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
I think what is acceptable in terms of character loss is dependent on the type of game you're running. In a recent Desolation session, I had a character drown trying to save a child. Someone else was able to save the child from shore, but I still didn't consider it a worthless death. What mattered was that he tried. Now had it been a Superhero game or something more in the Pulp or Adventure vain a death or permanent loss would only occur in the epic confrontation.

BTW: Other then a signature weapon, I've never really been bothered by equipment loss. Hell, I remember games where we've done full equipment lists in character creation only to lose most of it in the first session. Usually do to a shipwreck or capture.
shiftercat
Oct. 19th, 2010 04:43 am (UTC)
"This" to both of your posts.

I think I'd want to be told if I were going to lose equipment in the first session. Not so much because of XP investiture or whatever, but if I've been gelling my character concept with the idea of them having thus-and-such by their side, I'd suddenly be having to do go "argh, switch mental gears" right at character introduction.
spross
Oct. 19th, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)
Well to be honest, first session equipment loss tended to be things who's lose is annoying not the permanant loss of signature items. More along the line of backpacks, spare clothing, various mundane minutia, our money. Though you'd be amazed how annoyed we get over losing things like bedrolls, spare secondary weapons, our clothes, etc...
shiftercat
Oct. 19th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC)
Ah, that makes more sense. The character I'd have to do the most mental rearranging about in that situation would probably be my rich merchant/diplomat/clotheshorse, and even she would grit her teeth and deal. (Because, you know, her family actually worked for their status. Not like those nobles.)
spross
Oct. 18th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
In my gaming experience, a hero not only does the right thing with no expectation of reward, but even with the full expectation of being terribly, terribly hurt in the process.
karisma_black
Oct. 18th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
Just a tiny note--the GURPS system allows you to pay 10 points to get an advantage called "Common Sense". This basically allows the player to play a character that would "know better" than to do something stupid. It basically allows them to get the GM to say "That would be a stupid idea" to them for free.
ad1066
Oct. 18th, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC)
2nd Edition V:tM had a Merit that did the same thing. In practice, it was entirely up to the GM exactly how useful it ended up being.

-- Ben
marinredwolf
Oct. 18th, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
One thing I find fascinating with these posts is how you often describe your tabletop games and style in ways that often (though hardly always) conflict with what I've seen of you online. Your topic here of loss being a prime example.
mikepictor
Oct. 18th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
In theory, with mature players, and a non-malicious game master....anything. Anything can be lost, and it can serve to develop the complexity of a character.

That's a simplistic answer though.

Permanent wounds can be tricky things. You can't easily adjust to it, or overcome it. Depending on setting, you've added a permanent and irreversible hindrance to the character. It's justifiable, but it will take a sturdy player to roll with it.

Items, pffft. They're just items. They can be replaced. The DM can easily let a replacement enter the game if it's important to move the plot. It's just stuff. Now, that too is simplistic. Some games really rely on stuff. Losing a weapon is much more crippling to a warrior, than it is to a wizard, or a monk. It would be even worse to a class type that has an inherent tie to an item, like a kensai type character. What you don't want is to create an atmosphere in which people gravitate to the monk and wizard just to play it safe in terms of item loss. The other notable factor here are game systems in which you pay character points to have an item at creation, or bond an item (Exalted, Shadowrun, etc...). To cause that item to go away, is to create a measurable loss in character value. The player can now attach a number to that loss (unless you return the points to the character, since the character's "value" has gone down). That's partly whey I resist game systems that enshrine an item value in character points, or why I often avoid investing those points into an item.
idemandjustice
Oct. 19th, 2010 02:03 am (UTC)
I've often thought the games you describe in roleplayers sound really interesting. I don't agree with every single thing, but for the most part, I think you sound like someone who would be a lot of fun to play with.

I like "losses" that make the game more interesting. Please mess with my character. Make me fall in love with the villain. Give me the helm of opposite alignment (but please only if I've been playing the character for a while, otherwise I'll be at a bit of a loss as to how to reinterpret myself). The skill loss you talked about, well, I didn't think that sounded like a lot of fun. I did think you at least gave fair warning about it, so I don't really criticize it.

I don't always play heroic characters, but I don't really like playing evil characters. I don't like to play extremely low humanity, and I've played evil alignments in D&D, but when I do, I find myself hoping I'll lose. I feel guilty about the fictional bad things I do! It seems like lately I only have time for a solo game with my husband, and that's been D&D, and I've been playing Chaotic Neutral. My character can be vengeful and ruthless, but she cares deeply for her own. So she still tends to function well enough alongside a paladin, etc, for the most part, as long as he doesn't know about everything she does. I think next time I play something, I'm due for a more honorable character.

At any rate, I always enjoy reading about your thoughts on role-playing. I know a lot of people don't agree with you, but you sound pretty cool to me.
tashiro
Oct. 19th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
Thank you for the response. :) I actually don't mind people not agreeing with me, it makes me think about my position, and having to defend it helps me to put my choices into perspective, and I hope other people having to contemplate their stance gives them food for thought as well. It's the discussion which I find interesting, and why I post there.

I just felt that, rather than bury people in a huge post they might not be interested in, the link would help out more. Chaotic Neutral can be a fun (and difficult) alignment to play, I've often found Neutral or Neutral Good to be a bit more fun, though I do have a tendency to lean towards Lawful.
idemandjustice
Oct. 19th, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)
I occasionally worry that I might play my chaotic neutral character too nice, because I'm a soft-hearted role-player. But then I generally find a realistic opportunity to do something a bit evil, and then I figure I'm covered, for a while. For instance, my character is an epic level mage, and her former apprentice is getting really powerful, and REALLY evil, basically enslaving people and making them forget who they are. So, my character arranged to have her assassinated. And the person who helped, talked me into doing it in a much nastier way than I'd had in mind, sorta like the way you say you like to tempt your players. They instilled all kinds of fear in me about the likelihood of someone just resurrecting the evil apprentice, so, I wound up agreeing to let demons be involved. I definitely don't think my character is in danger of shifting toward a good alignment any time soon after that. I also don't agree with the old description in the player's handbook where the alignment is likely to flip a coin to decide what to do. I like the lawful and chaotic extremes on the alignments. For some reason, the last few years, I haven't found neutral (as far as law/chaos) quite as interesting.
tashiro
Oct. 19th, 2010 03:51 am (UTC)
For D&D specifically, I have a very specific view of each alignment. A Chaotic character is one who doesn't (normally) act to oppose the laws, he's just completely willing to go about his business, regardless of what the law says. A Neutral character will follow the laws, unless they specifically inconvenience him, in which case he's going to weigh the pros and cons of the law and act accordingly. A Lawful character will follow the law, even if it is an inconvenience.

Good and Evil is more polarising. A Good character is willing to self-sacrifice for the betterment of others. An Evil character is willing to sacrifice others for self-betterment. A neutral character weighs their feelings and opinions of others and themselves and acts accordingly. This may mean letting someone die because the price is too high, but saving another because they can.

This sort of thing makes Neutral more fun for me. I've also done Neutral Evil (a completely selfish character who enforced party unity because it made it more likely to succeed), and while fun, I'd really not associate with the guy. ;) Sure, he'll help his party members, and he'll even help other people, but it all comes down to 'how it benefits me, long term'.
dibs_and_dlas
Oct. 19th, 2010 03:32 am (UTC)
I'd say that it depends a fair bit on the game (and the genre conventions). In (say) a FATE-derived game, if you list some physical object as an aspect, then you're darn right it's going to be taken away from you (and you're going to get fate points when that happens), but not permanently (unless you want to change the aspect). On the other hand, if you're playing a wizard-type in most sorts of generic medieval fantasy, your spellbooks probably *won't* be targets for every monster and thief you run into (no matter how tactically effective such a move might be). On the other hand, if you're in a space opera game, then any technological device beyond a blaster pistol that you have and that *isn't* specifically mentioned on your character sheet should probably be assumed to vanish at the end of the adventure, unless there's a good reason for getting rid of it in the middle instead.

I guess where I fall is that, if you've gone to the effort of putting it on your sheet, you shouldn't be permanently deprived of it without either choosing to sacrifice/trade it for something, or being compensated in some other way.
tashiro
Oct. 19th, 2010 03:46 am (UTC)
I don't know...
See, if a PC thief is trying to rob a mage, he might go for the spell book. So why can't an NPC thief go for the PC's book if he's trying to get at the mage without killing him?

It means the mage should have a back-up book. Just in case. :)
kyn_elwynn
Oct. 19th, 2010 09:42 am (UTC)
The thief glances at the front of the mage's spellbook. Upon it he reads, "I prepared Exploding Runes this morning?"
*KABEWM*
marinredwolf
Oct. 19th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't say that such things can't happen, but they should be used sparingly/carefully.

Just like taking a rogue/cleric character and tossing them into a trapless dungeon where holy power can't reach, going after a wizard's spellbook or (perhaps to a lesser extent) a warrior's weapons is a serious blow to character concept and functionality. That can be used to good dramatic effect once in a while, but more often it just takes the fun out of it for a player.
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