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Old 05-17-2019, 02:35 PM   #11
JLV
 
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Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

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Originally Posted by Sinanju View Post
I understand what you're saying. My point is two-fold: first, I've seen (and played in) too many games where the game grinds to a halt while every character tries repeatedly to roll to do/spot something. Maybe they have reason to think they're missing something, maybe not. But endless die rolling to finally achieve some goal is just boring.

If a casual perception roll or two fails, and the players have reason to think there's a secret door (for instance) that they're missing, and they decide to search the area thoroughly, I'm not going to make them keep rolling--they'll find it. But repeated attempts until the law of averages gives you a successful die roll is unnecessary (and boring).

Second, I'm more interested in giving the players meaningful choices. Yes, they can painstakingly search every square inch of the labyrinth as they travel--but they're going to move at a snail's pace. That means more supplies (lamp oil, food) consumed. More chance of being discovered and attacked by the labyrinth's denizens, and so forth. If that's their choice, so be it.

If that's *not* their choice, then they don't get to make endless spot checks one after another. One, maybe two rolls, presumably by the PCs most likely to spot whatever it is, and that's it. They may miss a secret door or get ambushed by a slime they'd have spotted if they'd taken more care--but that's the price of choosing to move at a faster pace.

They can't have it both ways. They have to make a choice, and the choice has consequences.
This seems entirely logical to me; everything the players do should have consequences (both good and bad) attached to it, and my job as the GM is to apply those consequences and to move the game forward. Mindlessly rolling dice for two hours without something actually happening doesn't strike me as me doing my job!
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:54 PM   #12
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Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

I guess I've never seen the mindlessly rolling dice for two hours thing, nor a GM letting people re-roll dice over and over but insist they do it.

It seems to me players are supposed to roleplay when their characters don't find something. And the GM can describe situations where the PCs fail to find things as if there is nothing there. ITL mentions up to two or three rolls to spot something, and also mentions the principle of making repeated attempts to do something harder. So it seems to me if people are wasting lots of time rolling to spot things, someone's probably doing something a bit off.

Framing situations with meaningful choices with different sorts of consequences makes sense.

And again, if the GM doesn't want there to be a situation where something might not be found, they probably shouldn't make it hidden so that it might not be found. No one says anything has to be hidden. It's also perfectly valid to say something is hidden but searching will eventually find it and it's just a matter of when and by whom, or they can decide that doesn't even matter and just say "the group finds [the thing] after looking for a bit".

But if you do want a game where something is hidden, and you do want it to be possible that it won't be found, it seems to me ITL presents a fairly reasonable system for doing that.
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:04 PM   #13
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Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
I guess I've never seen the mindlessly rolling dice for two hours thing, nor a GM letting people re-roll dice over and over but insist they do it.

It seems to me players are supposed to roleplay when their characters don't find something. And the GM can describe situations where the PCs fail to find things as if there is nothing there. ITL mentions up to two or three rolls to spot something, and also mentions the principle of making repeated attempts to do something harder. So it seems to me if people are wasting lots of time rolling to spot things, someone's probably doing something a bit off.

Framing situations with meaningful choices with different sorts of consequences makes sense.

And again, if the GM doesn't want there to be a situation where something might not be found, they probably shouldn't make it hidden so that it might not be found. No one says anything has to be hidden. It's also perfectly valid to say something is hidden but searching will eventually find it and it's just a matter of when and by whom, or they can decide that doesn't even matter and just say "the group finds [the thing] after looking for a bit".

But if you do want a game where something is hidden, and you do want it to be possible that it won't be found, it seems to me ITL presents a fairly reasonable system for doing that.
Honestly, I've never seen it (or DONE it), but I HAVE heard stories where this has happened. Whether they are true or not, I don't know. The point I was trying to make though is to not be a slave to the rules. The rules are there as a guideline to enable you to run a more or less coherent fantasy game and resolve certain actions in a consistent way; not to be slavishly followed down in flames, though sometimes it seems like that's what some folks want to do...

There are two ways that I personally handle the issue of "hidden, not found, key to adventure" and that is; 1) use the Three Clue Rule; and 2) use the rolls to determine not success vs. failure, but rather DEGREE of success; you rolled a fail, so you find out SOME of what you needed to know or find a clue to where the bijou REALLY is -- something that means you still have some work to do. So you rolled a catastrophic failure, you found the bijou but you also found the GUARDIAN of the bijou...or it found YOU. Both 1) and 2) give you some options to run with...without either spending a week searching, or derailing the entire adventure.
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Old 05-18-2019, 10:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

I have seen some pretty amazingly questionable GM'ing, but that seems to me an issue with those GMs.

Personally, unless it's a one-shot "this is the one cool adventure that is the scope of the game", my preferred campaign type is open world play, where I like it when a good GM isn't too attached to any particular adventure or series of events happening, and instead sets up situations and finds out what happens by playing it out. I appreciate it when finding something really means the characters found something, and that there was a chance they might not find it, and might do something else besides whatever adventure might be nearby, and that's embraced as really playing the situation and seeing what happens, instead of pretending that's what's happening but really driving the players into some pre-planned plotline.
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Old 05-19-2019, 03:06 AM   #15
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Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
I have seen some pretty amazingly questionable GM'ing, but that seems to me an issue with those GMs.

Personally, unless it's a one-shot "this is the one cool adventure that is the scope of the game", my preferred campaign type is open world play, where I like it when a good GM isn't too attached to any particular adventure or series of events happening, and instead sets up situations and finds out what happens by playing it out. I appreciate it when finding something really means the characters found something, and that there was a chance they might not find it, and might do something else besides whatever adventure might be nearby, and that's embraced as really playing the situation and seeing what happens, instead of pretending that's what's happening but really driving the players into some pre-planned plotline.
Yep, I like sandboxes too -- for exactly those reasons. (Plus it's so EASY to run TFT "off the cuff" and improvisationally that it practically begs to be run as a sandbox.) My earlier response was more predicated on the idea of a "typical" adventure-arc type of campaign, but honestly, as I get older, I find those less interesting than just seeing what comes up and letting the chips fall where they may. Besides, I think the PLAYERS actually get more out of it when THEY are the ones more or less creating the "story arc" on the fly than when I try to impose one on them. Plus, they always seem to see patterns and connections where none actually existed, and that sort of thing always makes the GM's work easier and simpler! ;-)
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