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> Role-playing vs roll-playing, Does it have to be one or the other
What method of gamin do you enjoy?
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Shadow
post Sep 16 2003, 02:23 AM
Post #1


Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill.
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I here this all the time. It drives me crazy. This is an issue that has multiple layers and I feel because I like both (and not to much of either) somehow I am a bad gamer becaue I like to follow the rules, roll the dice and play the game, somehow I am not a *true* gamer. So I would like to hear the communities thoughs on this, maybe I will find I am not alone, or maybe I will here some new ideas beyond,

"Try role-playing, not roll-playing".
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Glyph
post Sep 16 2003, 03:04 AM
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I agree that a lot of so-called "role-players" can come off as elitist and condenscending. To me, designing a character who can be effective in their specialty is half of the fun. With such a character, I can both roleplay (something overlooked by munchkins) and be successful in things like shooting people and breaking into places. Because that's what the premise of the game is - playing a tough professional criminal/rebel type. So-called roleplayers often gimp their characters, then whine how the rules get in the way when their character gets gunned down by the first punk with a Streetline Special. I like the rules, myself. I don't play to have the GM tell me a story - and without rules to arbitrate things like combat and add a genuine random element to the game, that's all it is.

Actually, I think some moderate min-maxing helps roleplaying. I start out with a concept and flesh it out as I spend points, often changing things around as the concept evolves. My characters wind up being good at what they do, but with every skill and Attribute accounted for in their backgrounds. People who write a novel and then try to make a character, by contrast, often find out that what they have in mind doesn't quite "fit" the generation system, and they end up having to make a lot of compromises.
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Daishi
post Sep 16 2003, 04:22 AM
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I'm working a bit more on making my characters more memorable and more fleshed out, but I honestly think our crew is more interested in problem-solving, and tactical operations that character development. At least, that's true for me. So characters are often strongly viewed in terms of their capacities. Which inevitably leads to lots of die rolling.

(But I think the dirty little secret of ShadowRun's popularity around here is that it allows to roll lots and lots of dice. And that just feels cool.)
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Kagetenshi
post Sep 16 2003, 04:46 AM
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I use both, but I typically end up calling for relatively few rolls of the dice (except Perception, which is used right and left) unless the dramatics of the situation call for it.

~J
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Sunday_Gamer
post Sep 16 2003, 05:16 AM
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The problem is with the definition.

Where I'm from, a roll-player is someone who would play shadowrun like it as monopoly. No interest in playing out scenes with NPC or other PCs, seeking only the next excuse to roll as many dice as possible.
A roll-player's character never has any depth, they are two dimensional cardboard cutouts, in fact, they might as well be "the shoe" or "the car", it's all the same to them.

A roleplayer, again, where I'm from, is someone who actually plays the game for the story, obviously his character is an intrinsic part of the story, but the player actually tries to think and act as his CHARACTER would.

At NO point and time is a role player adverse to rolling dice, I mean, that's how you figure out if things go down the way you want them to, granted we also don't bog ourselves down in useless dice rolling, if my character drives to the store, the GM isn't interested in my driving roll, it doesn't serve the story, so we skip it and assume I drive my dumb ass to the store.

I am unfamiliar with the concept of a role-player refusing to use his dice, granted, I HAVE played entire game sessions without anyone needing their dice, but that just "happened", no one planned it that way.

Just my 2 :nuyen:

Sunday
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Polaris
post Sep 16 2003, 05:31 AM
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Sunday Gamer,

Then you have not had the misfortune to play with a bunch of hardcore Vampire TM players or (worse) hardcore Amber players. It think between the two of them, they have the lock on "role"playing pretension....as in if you aren't an aspiring Shakesperean actor then you shouldn't soil their beloved hobby with your uncouth presence or your despicable dice or capable characters.

I hate that attitude. There is no reason you can't be min-maxed for what you do and still have a cool, complex, and believable background and persona. Actually I find that the so-called "real" roleplayers complain *more* in the presence of a fleshed out interesting persona who happens to be min-maxed because most of them couldn't parse a rule-book if it hit them in the head....and having a character that is good in combat situations *and* is wonderfully done is anethema to them.

Of course YMMV.

-Polaris
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Shadow
post Sep 16 2003, 06:14 AM
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I bring this up because a few years ago I was at a game and the party insisted on role-playing out this bonfire. Now before I hear "if everyone is having a good time", I want you to know I wasn't. For two hours they "Role played" foraging for wood, trying to start the fire, how to cook the food. We were supposed to be on our way to warn a city that mass danger in was coming behind us. When I voiced my concern, I got stuck with, "It's role-playing, not roll playing". And I was all, wtf? Needless to say I quit that campaign.

I have found this attitude more and more prevalent. A damn near unwillingness to roll dice for anything. And a attitude that if you get into combat you’ve done something wrong. It's nice to see some people out there understand where I'm coming form.

Now I need each and every one of your addresses so I can mover there and play in a decent game.



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Sphynx
post Sep 16 2003, 06:25 AM
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You know, the wording on the poll pretty much assured only the last 2 choices would be chosen.

Regardless, personally I'm with Glyph on this one. I once did an analysis with some friends on the 'evolutionary steps of roleplaying' and discovered that there are 4 basic steps that are taken in direct order.. goes something like this:

Newbie: Cool game, when do I get to do X or Y? Character growth becomes important as you have 'goals' to achieve, the whole accent thing and being 'in-character' is still too dorky.

Style: It would be Very cool if I combined this and that! You start doing things to make your character cool, min-maxxing becomes an art. You realize you don't need X so much, so save points here and increase Y. Spend any spare points on 'style'.

Role: I don't need dice, I can honestly roleplay my way through any situation. Yep, we ALL hit that pretentious moment in the evolutionary stage (even I have... sadly). ;) Not needing X has become not needing Y either. This is actually good roleplaying, but has a fatal flaw. Without rolling dice, you're not playing your character which has weaknesses other than your own, you're playing yourself as if you were the character and all your character's attributes and skills become directly correlated to how charismatic/convincing you are as a player.

Enlightened: Lastly, we end up hitting the stage where numbers, dice and 'role' are all as important. A point where you realize that even though you can talk in a strange accent, without the randomness of dice, you're just assuming what your character can do instead of finding out. More importantly, a stage where you remember that you forgot how fun it was to put the "roll" in "roleplay".

Anyhows, it was research done on our own groups where I lived, so may not be accurate with all the world, but we had this tendency to watch people and put them in one of the 4 categories, sounding all pretenscious as if we had this understanding far beyond them. But despite that, it's stayed fairly accurate as I've moved about and watched other groups. Taking the "roll" out of "roleplay" isn't a bad thing, it's highly evolved actually. But assuming that not having a "roll" in "roleplay" is ignoring, what I feel to be, the next step.

I spend my years thinking I didn't need no damn character sheet, tell me the job and I'll get in/out without anyone the wiser and not roll a single dice in the process. Now instead, I grab my bag of 30 dice and while shouting at the top of my lungs "Take this you fraggin %^$!#^" roll the whole damn bag at whatever was dumb enough to mistake me for some simple conjurer of parley tricks. ;)

Sphynx
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Jpwoo
post Sep 16 2003, 01:37 PM
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I think that people tend to come to the games that best fit with their style or playing. So most people here are going to be hybrid role/roll players as shadowrun rewards boths almost equally.

The world is open enough that you need to be able to role play even a little as there normally isn't a linear path that you can 'roll' along.

The combat system and other 'guts' of the game reward tactical and strategic play in a way that 'role' playing cannot fully cover.

I hope this doesn't make us Rolle players.
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Drain Brain
post Sep 16 2003, 02:02 PM
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Although some might say I'm "that condescending guy" who espouses ROLE playing etc etc, I can't deny a certain amount of glee at number crunching and min-maxing.

May be the fact that my forefathers were all union men, but I love making the rules work to my advantage...

So yeah I'm a bit of both.

Take Flip, the character I'm playing over in the PBP boards - He's a kick ass close combatant Physad. Unfortunately he's naive, can't shoot for shit and has a soft spot for what he thinks are "innocents." That said, he's like a typical teenage boy in that he's obsessed with gadgetry and weaponry.

So yeah - Good specialist, great for ROLL playing in his element, but also a 100% fun ROLE playing experience.

THAT is the important bit - fun. Whichever way you do things, have fun.


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Laughlyn
post Sep 16 2003, 05:14 PM
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At one end of the spectrum you end up with something like Fallout Tactics BOS, almost no rollplaying and all combat/dice rolling (in the case of the game just a skill check by the computer). At the other end of the spectrum you have people come up with:

"My character Mojo Ho Ho worked at Ares for 10 before leaving one night because he found out they did some evil human testing. As I left I talked to a few friends and was able to convince them that I'd never come back and I needed a Barrett 121, 200 rounds of ammo for it, a full platinum cred stick and a T-Bird…which I was just able to fly because I'm pretty smart. Then I spent 3 months practicing how to fly and how to shoot my new Barrett 121"

Suffice it to say, no way in hell. There has to be a happy medium or else I'd stick with tactical combat games that are far more realistic than Shadowrun.
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Lin Hayati
post Sep 16 2003, 05:29 PM
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Heya all! I'm the big n00b who voted "Who needs talking, I let my bag of 30 dice speak for me!" That, however, is because in the campaign I'm currently in, I play a character who speaks softly and carries a BIG stick and can roll 23 dice to attack with it. Role-playing is less painfully difficult when you're playing the silent type.
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last_of_the_grea...
post Sep 16 2003, 06:40 PM
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Well, this arguement is much better done after reading some Knights of the Dinner Table strips. Here's a batch for ya to read, then come back here and argue role vs. roll!
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Siege
post Sep 16 2003, 06:53 PM
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I think swinging to either extreme is bad.

The bonfire was amusing, as was one of my former GM's insisting on "role-playing" my character's buying of a belt-buckle. I surrendered when he started going on about the weather.

Roll-players (to my mind) are the ones who exist only to create extreme characters without providing some form of context in the element of the game.

Example: The tank-troll that never parts with his mini-gun, ammo hopper and mil-spec armor.

Which is fine if you're playing a session of Desert Wars, but in the context of "sneaky, shadowy thieves slinking through the cracks of Corporate plasti-steel", it doesn't really follow.

The other extreme of roll-player -- the afore-mentioned player of the Tank Troll is upset when the GM rules, "well...nobody wants to talk to you and the bartender just ran out the back screaming."

Tank Player: "Well, there's nothing in the rules about my being scary! That's not fair!"

Suffering GM: "..."

Suffering GM: "..."

Suffering GM: "You're still wearing the mil-spec armor, the ammo hopper and the mini-gun on full whirrr, right?"

Tank Player: "Yeah, so?"

These same players will abuse the system, exploit loopholes and verge on becoming munchkins, having discarded common sense for the opportunity to live vicariously in the rule system.

Of course, the aspiring Shakespearean actor is just as bad and can be equally frustrating -- especially when you find yourself reaching for the chair as a blunt object.

-Siege
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Cray74
post Sep 16 2003, 10:01 PM
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QUOTE (Shadow)
I here this all the time. It drives me crazy. This is an issue that has multiple layers and I feel because I like both (and not to much of either) somehow I am a bad gamer becaue I like to follow the rules, roll the dice and play the game, somehow I am not a *true* gamer. So I would like to hear the communities thoughs on this, maybe I will find I am not alone, or maybe I will here some new ideas beyond,

"Try role-playing, not roll-playing".

I just separate roleplaying and rollplaying. In combat, I get my fill of rollplaying (and carnage). Elsewhere, I roleplay with occasional dice rolls - an etiquette check here, a computer check there.
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Adarael
post Sep 16 2003, 10:35 PM
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QUOTE
I agree that a lot of so-called "role-players" can come off as elitist and condenscending.


That's because for the most part, we are. I say we primarily because I consider myself more in the elitist and 'screw the technicalities of the rules, the story is what matters' category. Yes, Polaris, I *am* one of those Damn Dirty Vampire players. But! I also think Vampire, as a game, is what happens when you swing too far *away* from dice and having a working system. Lemmie explain what I mean...

Probably one of the most fun sessions I've had in Shadowrun was entirely centered around trying to figure out what the Council of Princes was up to, how Ehran and Harlequin were tied together, and why cyberzombies worried us so damn much. It was basically the 'figuring out huge chunks of plot' game. No dice rolled the entire game, no rules thrown in... just roleplay. I and my group are pretty darn good roleplayers, too; we're all rather theatrical types with a good grasp of the world. So when forced to deal with the cheeseball types who wouldn't know a story if it came up and bit them on the face, we tend to get rather dismissive and easily annoyed. Typically, really dice-heavy games make characters like the one Laughlyn described - less so story-inclined individuals. For example, if a player can't explain to me where their shadowrunner picked up all his shadowrunning type skills, I start to look really sidelong at them. Sure, it's shadowrun, and sure you're gonna need stealth, some weapons skills, and knowledge skills to tell you what the opposition is probably doing to counter you. But characters don't suddenly hatch whole with knowledge of 'Laser Weapons (Ares MP III): 5/7' in their skillset without a damn good reason. I figure if you can't explain why a character has their skills, you can't adequately explain how they became a runner.

I remember on Shadowrun: Detroit MUSH, 9/10ths of the population seemed to have absolutely no idea what playing Shadowrun meant. Sure, they knew Chicago had been blasted by the Cermak warhead, they knew not having a SIN meant they were without rights... but I saw trolls dealing weed and thinking they were 'hard', 'street samurai' that thought sticking an assault rifle under a secure long-coat made it invisible to Knight Errant patrols (and from an Int 8 Mercenary/Demolitions expert, trust me... They were horribly obvious), the belief that KE wouldn't investigate a city block being demolished by C-12 because it was a security E zone, and the winner of all time - a charisma 8 or 9 elven mage (who was a total 'i'm teh sexay!' bimbo) dropping a goddamn force 6 powerball on a group of people at her housewarming party - to knock their clothes off so things could get more intimate.

I mean, really. A force 6 powerball!?? Do these people even *read* the books?
THAT'S why I get arrogant about self-professed 'gamers, not snooty roleplayers'.
(And that's also not to say that White Wolf doesn't have its' share of idiots of that brand. Oh lord, I could go on about them for weeks...)

But Vampire's what happens when a company tries to *force* people to have games that are entirely like that, neh? They invent a rules system that's not just simple-minded, it's downright retarded. The probability scale is skewed horribly, luck matters almost as much as skill, and the combat system was specifically designed to confound and annoy the players - and ensure a horrible level of equally-distributed lethality - so that *players*, not characters, would avoid it like the plague. How many of you have actually seen a combat with 6-8 people in a White Wolf game? It's like watching a goddamn trainwreck, unless one side massively outclasses the other - except in Exalted, but that's another story.

Just explaining my position as a 'roleplayer'. But one who likes his dice, his combat pool, and his Shadowrun system that bloody well works.
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John Campbell
post Sep 17 2003, 12:14 AM
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By my definitions, using the dice does not make you a roll-player. Using the rules does not make you a roll-player. The rules and the dice are there to provide a framework within which you can role-play a character without getting into too many arguments with your fellow players and GM about objective reality. It's when you allow the numerical considerations to overcome your character's personality (if any) that you become a roll-player instead of a role-player.

If your PC is not a character, but just a list of stats, then you are a roll-player. If your decision process involves not, "What would my character do?" but, "What gives me the most pluses?" you are a roll-player. If your "background" is designed simply to justify getting the most pluses, you're not just a roll-player, you're a twink, too.

I'm a role-player. I'm elitist, too. It's hard not to be, because role-players are simply better than roll-players.
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Polaris
post Sep 17 2003, 02:19 AM
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Guys,

OK let me toss this back at you then. In the council of princes, did the character with a 3 ettiquette and the flaw: Incompetence Ettiquette schmooze and make the speak that won everyone over. Did the Trog with an Int of 2 come up with the brilliant deduction that solved the mystery.

See where I am going here? If you become too 'elitist' and throw the dice and rules away, then you are doing a piss poor job of roleplaying (really metagaming) at least as I see it. That is what tends to really torque me off with a lot of so-called "real" roleplayers....they aren't. They are roleplaying as little (and arguably less in many cases) than the inveterate dice junkie because they are letting their real world stats and personality determine how well their character's succeed. Either way it is still metagaming and still damaging to RPing.

I also resent an attitude prevelent in a lot of circles that says that "If you optimize your character, then you are by definition a bad roleplayer." That is flatly untrue yet I am hearing echoes of it here.

-Polaris
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Sunday_Gamer
post Sep 17 2003, 03:58 AM
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On White Wolf Games...

I play in a Mage campaign, run a Werewolf campaign and play in a Vampires campaign ( I know, between that and the SR game I play in and the one I run, you'd think I spend 24 hours a day gaming... but no, we rotate campaigns, it's not that bad really, I have a life... somewhere... I think it's behind the couch, lemme check...)

Let me tell you, NO ONE hates the White Wolf combat system more than I do. I fricken despise it, luckily, we work around it because the world is so damned rich. Our mage campaign is really a Call of cthullu game with mages as the heroes, our Vampire campaign is... well... messed up and a whole lot of crazy fun and the Werewolf game can be ripe with combat since the little buggers regenerate at absurd rates but yes, you're right, the White Wolf combat system sucks big donkey butt.

We however have a great time and do plenty of dice rolling in the process. Roll-players are not a product of the game, they are a product of the gamer.

Sunday
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Ronin Soul
post Sep 17 2003, 03:59 AM
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I tend to run my games more like a movie or story (as the players in my online run may be able to attest to). As a result mine are never particularly realistic to begin with. As a result I tend to take skills etc more as an indicator as opposed to "this is how good you are at something end of story". If a player describes an action well I give them bonuses and even may allow them to do the strictly impossible for the sake of telling a good, interesting story. (Yes I subscribe to the Feng Shui school of RPGing :D )

I think that how a game is run to a certain extent reinforces how much roll-playing or role-playing takes part. In a strictly canon game you will have more roll-playing by necessity compared to a game which is more freeform (I've run a few sessions where no dice where rolled even though combat did occur. We based results on descriptions of actions etc.). By the same token the attitude of the players as well as the GM determines how much roll-playing/role-playing occurs. A game where the players and GM all work together to tell a great story and have fun will generally have more role-playing/less roll-playing than one where the players are out to "beat" the GM, where roll-playing will presumably be emphasised as a way of limiting players etc.
Note that I say generally. There are exceptions I am sure.
Just my :nuyen: 0.02 on the subject.
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Sphynx
post Sep 17 2003, 06:32 AM
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QUOTE (Adarael)
For example, if a player can't explain to me where their shadowrunner picked up all his shadowrunning type skills, I start to look really sidelong at them.

That.... is what I consider to be the biggest problem amongst the "elite condescending roleplayer" types.

1) Help them with their background so it meshes with their skills. NOBODY is going to get upset about having a cool explanation why they have a skill. In my humble opinion, the player who doesn't help a person fit their background to their character, instead of giving them dirty looks, is the poor "role" player, not the one who made a fun character.

2) Who cares? You've reached a point where "realism" replaces "fun". If a new player wants a 5/7 MP III (which no min/maxxer would even do since that places too much dependancy on getting access to that kinda weapon), then let them. Since you obviously CAN develop a background for that kinda skill, what the hell does it matter if they have it? If the GM doesn't help them with a background to explain it, come up with your own for the little story in your head.

3) You are talking about newbies, those are not the actions of a "roll" player, those are actions of people who lack any experience. No "roll" player would ever use a Force 6 Powerball to remove clothing.... that's more the field of a "role" player (due to a lack of mechanics understanding), or a complete newbie.

4) "Role" players end up being a little short of useless when it IS time to use the dice, where as "Roll" players can start taking on a role anytime. Good numbers, good skill, good pools does not a non-role player make, you don't need numbers to be a good role player.

Sphynx
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DR.PaiN
post Sep 17 2003, 06:57 AM
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Whine whine whine.

My game is better than your game.

So the roll players have a fun time blowing up the arc.
The role players can have a fun time having a tea party with a Man of the Woods.
Great, now everyone is having fun so whats the problem?
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Cain
post Sep 17 2003, 07:29 AM
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Polaris-- I have seen it where the troll with Charisma 1 made the speech that won everyone over. It was roleplayed well, and the character not only believably had a low charisma, but succeded in spite of it. I'll refer you to Terry Pratchett's novels; Detrius's interrogation methods can be quite effective, and without resorting to blunt objects.

There is a balance to be found, between combining dice and character involvement. Too much min/maxing, and you end up with a cariacture instead of a character. Roll-players tend to produce cariactures, and think they're roleplaying. Drama queens will whinge on about how they don't need stats, but they tend to exaggerate certain characteristics as well, ending up with yet another cariacture. Either one can add "Elitist bastard" to their title, where they believe their method is the One True Way. Any gamer who believes that he or she's found the "One True Way" is also one incapable of playing anything but a cariacture.
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Polaris
post Sep 17 2003, 07:57 AM
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Cain,

I strongly disagree. Min-Maxing can lead to caraicture, but I think it is a mistake to say that it will always do so. In fact that very statement comes periously close to the elitism I was complaining about and sounds suspiciously like you too have found "the one true way" to roleplay yourself. Does that mean that you play caraictures?

The key about Min-Maxing is that you construct your person first including things he or she would like to be good at and things that would be reasonable in his or her background. Then you min-max to get the most effectiveness. I have said it before, and I will say it once more. In shadowrun (where your chummers lives are on the line) any player that does NOT min-max is doing not only himself but his fellows players a grave disservice....and I do mean grave in the literal sense.

The part about the Troll is precisely the thing I would never allow. If you have a one charisma then you really don't know how to please people. The best you can get is one sucess....and that has definate impliciations. Likewise, a character with an 8 etiquette and a 6 charisma is likely far more suave and debonaire than the player. It should be the character's skills and personalities that matter...not the players and too many so called "real" roleplayers forget this....which is sadly ironic because at that point they are no longer roleplaying.

-Polaris
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Sphynx
post Sep 17 2003, 10:34 AM
Post #25


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Yeah Cain, a Charisma 1 -anything- isn't articulate enough to make any kinda speech that'd win someone over. Charisma 1 is the guy who talks too loud while sniffling and picking his nose. Maybe he's Intelligent enough to say all the right things, but it could NOT be said, no matter how intelligent the idea is, in a manner that is inspiring enough to win people over. That's poor roleplaying, IMHO.

Sphynx
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