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Old 12-31-2009, 06:05 AM   #121
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by Nymdok View Post
If your willing to abandon dice rolls, where do you draw the line at what to throw out and what to keep? If one dice roll doesnt matter, do any of them?
A very good point and question. The answer is, like in any endeavor, they matter if people become attached to them.

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Originally Posted by Nymdok View Post
The Rules are the covenant by which we all agree to play any game. Once you start playing fast and loose with those rules, your not playing the same game any more. In the case of RPGing, your not playing a game at all, your just sitting around saying 'Wouldnt it be neat if....'

There is nothing wrong with that, but it aint GURPS.
Here we disagree. All of GURPS rules are optional. In that sense, if the only thing you keep is half a GURPS rule, you are still playing GURPS. Now if you set down with your players and say vaguely, "we're playing GURPS, make a 150 point character," you may find some players who are attached to playing out more rules than you are playing by. I think most of us would agree that the gamemaster and players should have a common understanding of what rules set is being used - if not the specific rules used, at least the spirit of the rules used.

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Originally Posted by Nymdok View Post
The hubris comes I think from the idea that 'I as GM know whats best for the story' when its the unexpected that truly drives the game and tests the imaginations of GM and PLayers alike. If this were not the case, we wouldnt use dice at all.

This is where GMing has gone afoul. GMing has become associated with story telling and we have lost sight of the fact that the story needs to be allowed to tell itself and even suprise us once in a while. It does that through dice and unexpected results.
I'm going to go ahead and half agree with you here. Yes, I think a gamemaster needs to make sure she is in tune with her players about what is rigth about the story. Yes, dice can be helpful to add a sense of fairness while pushing the story in directions the players and gamemasters may not have thought of on their own.

No, I don't think that to be a roleplaying game, the story needs to be driven by randomness. The story doesn't tell itself, the participants do. At any level of play, the gamemaster and players are making up the story and choosing when to roll dice and when not to roll dice. At any level of play, the gamemaster and players are determing what die rolls that they do make actually mean.
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Old 12-31-2009, 06:09 AM   #122
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by NineDaysDead View Post
Where did the name "Nowing" come from?
"no wing", ie. not winging it.

(it took several hours before I figured out what it meant)
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Old 12-31-2009, 07:24 AM   #123
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by jeff_wilson View Post
If we agree to play a game where the outcome depends on the roll of the dice, and you unilaterally decide to misrepresent the true result in favor of one more to your liking, you are lying and cheating. These are bad things and should be discouraged.
If this is how you play your games I understand that _you_ need to stat out everything.

But I really doubt that most groups game this way. I'd guess that Fun > Dice > Rules for a substantial subset of all gaming groups, and in those groups you really don't need to stat everything. Not even everything related to PC's. It's perfectly ok for the GM to just state that this ally is a 25pt ally regardless of his/hers/its actual points total.

BUT that is actually irrelevant (or should be anyway). (My perception) of the root of the problem is that people that wan't stats get the answer "no you don't need stats", which while strictly true isn't helpful. (Or maybe you really need stats to be able to game but it doesn't really matter.)

Part of the problem is that "no you don't need to stat that" is sometimes the right answer. For the overburdened new GM with a group where it's ok to fudge things in the name of Fun (tm) I'd say it's good to hear that once in a while.

The tag solution might actually work IMHO.
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Old 12-31-2009, 07:50 AM   #124
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by copeab View Post
"no wing", ie. not winging it.

(it took several hours before I figured out what it meant)
Ah thanks. Then I vote for "No-Wing"!
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:14 AM   #125
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by jeff_wilson View Post
I believe we can construct a sufficiently strong rebuttal to usefully reduce the frequency of chimes by showing most cases of statless winging to be optional at best and more generally a form of fudging or other deprecated game-breaking behaviors.
I disagree strongly. I don't stat up things more than necessary. This is actually important because I run sandbox style simulationist games where the players are free to talk to any random person in the world. And I'm not going to refrain from running a game set in San Francisco until I've statted up the 750,000 inhabitants.

This does not lead to statless winging. Why? Because GURPS has guidelines. Everybody starts with 10s in their stats. Professional level in a skill starts at 12. If a player says out of the blue, "I want to talk to a librarian," I make up the character right there in my head based on the logic of the gameworld and the system. I figure: Librarian, All 10s, IQ 12, Research 14, Other relevant skills at 12...which is the same thing I would have done if I had designed the character beforehand and wrote it down.

This doesn't lead to fudging. A GM who fudges is a GM who fudges. It doesn't matter if something is written down or not...because the players never see what is written down. I'm a non fudge GM, so I don't fudge. Doesn't matter if have things written down or not.

Deprecated game-breaking behaviors? Nope. Never had a game break, sorry.

I don't run adversarial games. I don't railroad. I don't fudge.

I also don't need to stat up every person in a universe. I only need to stat up what is important. And I take lots of notes in game.

So the PCs come up to the librarian. One of them uses Sex Appeal to get access to something in special collections. In the process of that roleplaying encounter I learn a little bit more about the librarian and write those things down (at this point it is mostly mannerisms, roleplay notes...though if anything comes out in conversation I'll need to remember I note that too). Now maybe they never come back to that librarian again. And we move on with our lives.

Instead, perhaps the PC decides to cultivate that relationship. So asks the librarian out on a date. Over the course of the date, I learn more about the librarian and take notes. I probably don't need more detailed stats for the librarian just yet. If the date goes well, I offer the PC the opportunity to buy the librarian as a Contact. Or give the librarian as a Contact as a roleplaying cp award.

If it is clear that the PC intends to spend more time with the Librarian...then I need to start thinking about that librarian more deeply...but that may still not involve stats...but it definitely will involve character history, family, deeper motivation, conflict, all the character bio stuff that will make that librarian really be an exciting interesting part of the game. Which probably doesn't really involve a full character sheet.

If the time comes where the PC wants to buy the Librarian as an Ally...and the PC has earned that in the context of roleplaying. Then I finish the statting and let the PC know how much it would cost.

What I don't need to do, is think...oh no! They may go to the Library. The library probably has 30 employees, I'd better stat up all of them completely or I'm a bad GM!
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:27 AM   #126
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by Molokh View Post
Ahem, the issue is not whether we need to stat up everything. The issue is that some people don't want to hear 'wing it' as a reply to the question they ask on a forum. What's wrong with adding the nowing tag to threads where the OP doesn't want to get a 'wing it'?
Actually no. That is not the original issue of this thread. Here is Jeff Wilson's original post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff_wilson View Post
"There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC" - I'm seeing this opinion (with which I do not agree) expressed more frequently than previous here, and I would like to see if users can post informed reasons for having it when there are several rules like the long-established Allies and Enemies that require the opposite behavior.
His original post was not a complaint that every time he asks for crunch he's gets a wing it answer. His original post was: I don't know why people think there is no point statting up things that aren't PCs--justify.
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:05 AM   #127
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by trooper6 View Post
His original post was not a complaint that every time he asks for crunch he's gets a wing it answer. His original post was: I don't know why people think there is no point statting up things that aren't PCs--justify.
Yes, and your answer to that, clear though it was, does not address that question. It addresses the question "I don't know why some people think it is ever acceptable not to stat up things that aren't NPCs—justify." That's a different question. It's like the difference between "not exclusively gay" and "exclusively straight."

In my case, for example, I certainly don't limit the NPCs who appear in a session to those for whom I have character sheets ready. But that doesn't mean I never prepare a character sheet for an NPC, or that I think there's no value in doing so. Back in Salle d'Armes, for example, I had character sheets for half a dozen people associated closely with the individual PCs, such as Launcelot for Guy; the three rival fencers; the two masters of the rival academies; three fashionable young women; the Spanish military attaché; and two of the street thugs who set on Guy and his companions. That's a large part of the NPCs you encountered. On the other hand, I didn't feel obliged to have a character sheet for every servant, street criminal, or aristo you ran into.

Like a lot of discussions, this one has polarized, into "Always have a full character sheet for everyone" and "Never have a character sheet for anyone but the PCs." But for a lot of us, somewhere in between is the right place.

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Old 12-31-2009, 10:39 AM   #128
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Like a lot of discussions, this one has polarized, into "Always have a full character sheet for everyone" and "Never have a character sheet for anyone but the PCs." But for a lot of us, somewhere in between is the right place.

Bill Stoddard
Well, I actually think part of the issue is that jeff wilson framed the discussion as a binary in the first place--well really, as a straw man. Most of the people who seem to be responding on the pro-side, keep trying to reframe his original post...not from his original: "stat up nothing!"--which I've not yet seen anybody advocate--to their "don't stat up things that aren't necessary." Which isn't the same thing.

Like you, I tend to stat out all the major NPCs. But I don't stat up everyone. Because that doesn't seem necessary to me. And if someone who is random becomes necessary, then I stat it up. And even my "statless" NPCs are quasi-statted because I work from ideas of baseline people.

So to answer his original question.

Jeff Wilson, your original reframing is a straw man...at least for me, and it seems many of the responders here. I am one of the "don't stat up more than necessary" camp. This doesn't mean that I stat up nothing. It means I don't stat up more than necessary. I do this because it saves time and I have found that statting up every random servant or librarian in full detail does nothing to increase the quality of my games, rather it often decreases quality because I'm spending time on details that don't impact the players rather than spending time on details that do.

I also operate from a very strong sense of who average people are stat-wise and skill-wise so I don't need to write down the stat before hand for every hot-dog vendor, because I already know what they are likely to be. For me, the stronger the simulationist base of the world, the less necessary it is for me to stat things out in advance. Because stats and skills follow logically from the simulation for average people. People who are special, and who are not average...they tend to need more statting up before hand.

But even when I stat up someone beforehand, my sense of method actory-ness also means that I have no problem evolving that sheet based on things uncovered about the NPC in play (not for people who are fixed like Allies and Enemies). For example, if during an IC conversation with a PC it comes about that the librarian was an Anthropology major as an Undergrad, then I have no problem adding one point in Anthropology.

The players have one character they think very deeply about. I have got millions. I cannot think as deeply about all of them. So random people get to become characters in the telling and that means their character sheets are evolutionary. Some random people never evolve because they are on stage and off in four seconds and never come back again. People I know will have heavy stage time get more development.
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:51 AM   #129
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by trooper6 View Post
Like you, I tend to stat out all the major NPCs. But I don't stat up everyone. Because that doesn't seem necessary to me. And if someone who is random becomes necessary, then I stat it up. And even my "statless" NPCs are quasi-statted because I work from ideas of baseline people.
And even then, there are may different levels of "stating up" NPCs. There's no fundamental difference between "Has a mindblast, resisted by Will, causes uncosiousness" and "Affliction, Malediction, Unconsciousness, Psionic [48pts] (or whatever it costs)"

When stating up NPCs the basic description is all that is absolutely necessary; there's no need to take that basic description of effects and map it into the character creation rule unless the ability is something that the PCs will be able to use/learn/acquire. When people say "you don't need to stat that up" what they generally mean is "your description of what it does is all the stats you need."
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:00 AM   #130
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by jeff_wilson View Post
Don't you see a rather circular character to your reasoning here, wrt the stated issue of this thread?
I simply didn't see the point in reiterating what others have said. As you've called me out, however...

I don't use points because points don't tell me anything I don't know from looking at the stats, and because it's time consuming to actually write out and then add up all the points. A 500 point character could be a polymath, a God-King, an exceptional martial artist and entrepreneur, or a paraplegic who can rip people apart with his mind. I get a lot more out of looking at the character and seeing they have high skill levels, have huge Status and a Minion Ally Group army, have high strength, combat skills, and some background skills, or lack limbs but have a ridiculous level of TK than I ever would out of seeing that the character was built on 500 points. I give my players a point budget so that they consider themselves to start on an even playing field with each other, and to prevent them from going crazy buying skills/abilities/etc in a manner inappropriate for my campaign. I don't give myself a point budget because I base the NPC stats off of the PC stats. Just how high of skill should the polymath have? Enough to be useful, but not so much that he overshadows all of the PCs. How large/powerful of an army should the God-King have? Enough to be a threat without instantly annihilating the PCs. How skilled should the martial artist be? Enough to be a challenge, but not so much that the PCs can't touch him (unless I want him to be nearly untouchable). How much TK should the paraplegic have? Enough that the PCs won't be careless, but not so much that he can kill them effortlessly.

Now, I do think there is a point to statting up non-PCs. This tells you what the character is capable of. However, there is no good point in determining the point total - or in some cases how to actually build the ability, if it's excessively complicated - if PCs are never going to get access to the trait. This is because the point value of the trait doesn't tell you anything the trait itself does not tell you more effectively. "This character has a 1d (2) imp Innate Attack with Acc 3, RoF 3, Rcl 2, no 1/2D, Max 100, and costs 1 FP/use" tells me far more than "This character has a [16] Innate Attack." Additionally, the fact that the Innate Attack happens to cost 16 points tells me simply that this guy has an Innate Attack with some decent modifiers tacked on - something that I already see, and indeed see exactly what modifiers there are, by just looking at the attack's stats. Similarly, if a villain from my "Angels vs Demons" (working name) dimension shows up, with his innate defensive field that imposes a to-hit penalty against ranged attacks equal to his speed in yd/sec, I don't need to try to wrack my brain figuring out how much this trait costs*.

*I eventually will need to come up with a point cost, of course, as I intend to run a game in that dimension. Although all the PC's will have the trait, they may have access to special abilities that shut it down - and pricing this Limitation depends on what the ability itself costs! Plus, if I ever do IW with the players as Infinity Patrol after that setting, someone might want to play a character from it, in which case knowing the cost would be a good idea - and, of course, the possibility of me playing a character with such a trait exists. But, to simply introduce a character from there, I wouldn't need to bother.
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