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Old 08-13-2020, 04:41 PM   #21
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Can NPCs break the rules? (moved from KS discussion)

Oi!

Can (may) NPCs break the rules? No, every figure in play should follow all of the rules. If that's a literal rather than rhetorical question, I would think that's a no-brainer.

May the GM construct a figure/character that a player could not or would not be allowed to construct? Of course, and why not! How is that really different than, say, the GM putting a rainbow bridge in the story, even though no rules allow a player to construct a rainbow bridge?

If the real question is should the GM construct humanoid characters that have powers and abilities far, far above those a PC could attain, the answer will always be:

it depends on the story and how that NPC will be used.
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Last edited by Steve Plambeck; 08-15-2020 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 08-13-2020, 04:50 PM   #22
Tenex
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: Can NPCs break the rules? (moved from KS discussion)

Another way that the GM can stay within RAW for NPCs while still giving them unusual abilities is to make use of the rules for researching new spells. That opens up all kinds of odd abilities that are technically attainable by PCs.
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Old 08-14-2020, 02:41 AM   #23
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Can NPCs break the rules? (moved from KS discussion)

I think my position on this might be misinterpreted by some. I have no objection whatsoever to the existence of NPCs who are exotic, powerful beings (demigods, Mnoren, 5000 year old sorcerers, aliens, superheroes, demons in disguise, demons out of disguise, etc.). I regularly do this myself. Similarly, I have no objection to NPCs possessing exotic and powerful magical items or knowledge of exotic and powerful spells (though anything like this that I say came into existence by the studies and labors of a mortal wizard I would also allow a PC to invent or learn). What I'm not into is placing the PC's in a world where their battle hardened knight simply must hit a ceiling of so-and-so-many ST points (depending on whatever you consider to be realistic expectations re. rates of experience), but a generally similar battle hardened, but basically mundane, NPC knight might arbitrarily have several points more, for no reason that could be readily explained. To me, this contributes nothing to the 'story' of the game - it is simply a case of the GM arbitrarily breaking the rules under which the rest of the table plays so that his or her NPC is more powerful than a PC could be. I view this as in the same category as 'railroading' players by fudging die rolls or declaring outcomes of things that normally get resolved by established rules. It forces the players to play in a setting where the rules that describe normal sorts of things they might like to do might be twisted to meet the GM's wishes about what they can or cannot accomplish.
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Old 08-14-2020, 03:50 AM   #24
Celjabba
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Default Re: Can NPCs break the rules? (moved from KS discussion)

I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand,

as a player, it is frustrating when a NPC "break the rules" that you have to follow.
To take a non-rpg exemple, I remember having a fit of rage over the videogame "sid meier pirates" where in high difficulties, the smallest npc ships would carry 4 times more guns and crews than the player could on the same ship. (and they were faster too ! stupid cheating computer)

On the other hand,

TTRPG are not videogames : they have a GM, and the GM word is the rule, so ... there cannot be any npc "breaking the rules" by definition.
Larsdangly above seem to say that he would be ok with a knight with demonic ancestry having 44 (for exemple) in stats but not a mundane knight.
I certainly understand the feeling but since the GM decide what the NPC is, it is in a way a very arbitrary ok/not ok.
In a game where you play a character, and the system is only there to support the game, I feel an NPC breaking the rules is a non-problem.

On the third hand,

For Arena games, or games where the GM is only the arbiter of rules in a strictly defined setting, having mundane npc following the rules governing mundane pc is important.
Not for fairness, but because a player in such a game need to be able to rely on his knowledge of game mechanics.

Last edited by Celjabba; 08-14-2020 at 04:00 AM.
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Old 08-14-2020, 06:37 AM   #25
hcobb
 
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Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: Can NPCs break the rules? (moved from KS discussion)

My feeling is module builders need to do a better job at explaining how the NPCs got that way.

So singular giant flying turtle is just a mystery of Cidri while a wizard who recently got much stronger and agile (in his fifties) needs to have a rumor of demonology about him.
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Old 08-14-2020, 08:24 AM   #26
Tenex
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: Can NPCs break the rules? (moved from KS discussion)

This question obviously revolves around your assumptions regarding the role of the GM. To me, the GM is not a god, he's more of a referee. The word of the referee (in any sport) is the end of the discussion. However, the ref must follow the rules of the game. It's not like a good ref just ignores rules he doesn't like.

I don't see that this limits the GM's creativity. It's like saying your character is going to be in a boxing match. The GM decides how loud the arena is, what color trunks the opposition wears, what tactics he uses, etc. But the GM can't say that the other boxer outweighs you by 35 pounds. If the GM can't make it interesting without resorting to making your opponent outweigh you by 2 weight classes then he lacks creativity.
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Old 08-14-2020, 08:32 AM   #27
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Can NPCs break the rules? (moved from KS discussion)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
My feeling is module builders need to do a better job at explaining how the NPCs got that way.

So singular giant flying turtle is just a mystery of Cidri while a wizard who recently got much stronger and agile (in his fifties) needs to have a rumor of demonology about him.
Precisely. People writing official material that is part of the 'RAW product line' should be free to introduce all sorts of wild ideas and extreme characters, but respect the process! If you have a cool idea for a powerful NPC, go for it, but develop the idea to the point where it makes some kind of fantasy-world sense.

The mini-campaign setting in the Book of Unlife and Vampire Hunter Belladonna are nice examples. They both include a number of wildly powerful beings (enough so that I wonder how any player will win without some super lucky rolls...but that's a different discussion!), but they all are readily understood as vampires, werewolves, etc. who came by their outrageous attributes through good honest black magics.

Last edited by larsdangly; 08-14-2020 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 08-14-2020, 08:39 AM   #28
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Can NPCs break the rules? (moved from KS discussion)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenex View Post
This question obviously revolves around your assumptions regarding the role of the GM. To me, the GM is not a god, he's more of a referee. The word of the referee (in any sport) is the end of the discussion. However, the ref must follow the rules of the game. It's not like a good ref just ignores rules he doesn't like.

I don't see that this limits the GM's creativity. It's like saying your character is going to be in a boxing match. The GM decides how loud the arena is, what color trunks the opposition wears, what tactics he uses, etc. But the GM can't say that the other boxer outweighs you by 35 pounds. If the GM can't make it interesting without resorting to making your opponent outweigh you by 2 weight classes then he lacks creativity.
No one can be strictly right or wrong about the role of the GM in a table top game, but I'm totally with you; I would feel I had either taken something from my players or neglected my creative duties if I resorted to brute force tactics (fudging die rolls; rigging scenes to achieve outcomes; protecting 'marry sue' NPCs, etc.).
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Old 08-14-2020, 09:53 AM   #29
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Can NPCs break the rules? (moved from KS discussion)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenex View Post
This question obviously revolves around your assumptions regarding the role of the GM. To me, the GM is not a god, he's more of a referee. The word of the referee (in any sport) is the end of the discussion. However, the ref must follow the rules of the game. It's not like a good ref just ignores rules he doesn't like.

I don't see that this limits the GM's creativity. It's like saying your character is going to be in a boxing match. The GM decides how loud the arena is, what color trunks the opposition wears, what tactics he uses, etc. But the GM can't say that the other boxer outweighs you by 35 pounds. If the GM can't make it interesting without resorting to making your opponent outweigh you by 2 weight classes then he lacks creativity.
The GM must preserve fun by maintaining an illusion of fairness, otherwise the players will feel cheated but following the rules is only the beginning of the illusion of fairness.

GMs can produce unlimited opposition of unlimited types against the PCs: powerful NPCs, multitudes of NPCs, natural disasters, social disasters, cultural disasters, death traps, new laws, obscure holidays, etc.
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Old 08-14-2020, 10:10 AM   #30
Celjabba
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Default Re: Can NPCs break the rules? (moved from KS discussion)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenex View Post
This question obviously revolves around your assumptions regarding the role of the GM. To me, the GM is not a god, he's more of a referee. The word of the referee (in any sport) is the end of the discussion. However, the ref must follow the rules of the game. It's not like a good ref just ignores rules he doesn't like.

I don't see that this limits the GM's creativity. It's like saying your character is going to be in a boxing match. The GM decides how loud the arena is, what color trunks the opposition wears, what tactics he uses, etc. But the GM can't say that the other boxer outweighs you by 35 pounds. If the GM can't make it interesting without resorting to making your opponent outweigh you by 2 weight classes then he lacks creativity.
Setting aside the edge case of the player being an heavyweight, in which case he can legally fight someone 200+lbs heavier ...

You are right, a GM saying that
-all fighters must be within a 35 lbs weight class
-your opponent is 100 lbs heavier than you
is "unfair"

However ... the GM set up that 35 lbs rule in his game.
he can perfectly say
-in this fight, there are no weight limit
-your opponent is 100 lbs heavier than you

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenex View Post
It's not like a good ref just ignores rules he doesn't like.
I fully agree with most peoples against "NPC breaking rules" in this thread if playing a computer simulation game where the computer happen to be an human who apply the rules mechanically - a "good ref".

another way of playing is to say that if a rules come into the way of the players fun, that rule will be cut.
In my opinion. I understand not everyone agree, as not everyone play the same way.

Last edited by Celjabba; 08-14-2020 at 10:12 AM. Reason: removed agressive toned sentence - not what I wanted to say
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