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Old 12-07-2017, 10:59 AM   #141
Ulzgoroth
 
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Default Re: What will you not allow?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Well, following on John's lead, let me be clear about what I object to.

<Snip>
That sounds like an enumeration of cases of a rule I suspect you follow in general: If you wouldn't want a character in your game on its own, making reference to an outside basis for the character isn't going to make you happier about it.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:15 AM   #142
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Default Re: What will you not allow?

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I've never actually had a GM constrain PC age or sex, so I have no idea how I'd react to that. Every GM I've had for 38 years has felt it important to leave decisions like that to the player. You could say that I consider freedom to choose age, sex, and (within what exists in the game world) culture and skin color to be inviolable rights of the player, thanks to four decades of gaming with people who see it that way.
Well, for that one, when I ran my Worminghall campaign, the PCs had to be newly admitted students at a medieval university with a faculty of magic. The normal situation was for them to be around 14, though I would have allowed a character who was starting their studies at a greater age. It was against the custom for women to attend universities (as it remained until the 1800s, when, for example, German universities started accepting rich American women as students), so anyone wanting to play a female character would have had to have her cross-dressing and putting a few points into Acting and Disguise. No one would be admitted who didn't have Latin at least at Broken. None of those was an arbitrary restriction; all of them followed from the choice to play in that historical setting.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:26 AM   #143
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Default Re: What will you not allow?

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
That sounds like an enumeration of cases of a rule I suspect you follow in general: If you wouldn't want a character in your game on its own, making reference to an outside basis for the character isn't going to make you happier about it.
That's probably about the right level of strength in general. But it may not be everything. I really do want the player to look at my campaign world, think about what backgrounds and occupational roles and the like it offers, and come up with something based on that. If that means they import a lot of stuff from other sources, I may not object—but I want a sense that the character is their response to the world I've offered them to play in; I don't want it just to be "but I always play this character."

Kromm discussed the idea that there are players who play one or a few archetypes. I have had players who were like that. But I've also had players who did what I do, which is to make a point of trying to come up with something different for each new campaign, to extend their own range and test their own limits. And that's something I really like in a player.

For myself, I've built several characters on that basis: Bertran (in a campaign set in Steven Brust's Dragaera) was a deliberate exercise in playing someone who was otnay ootay ightbray; Edward Gray Wolf (later Edward Two Dogs ****ing) was a deliberate exercise in playing a habitual BSer, trickster, and manipulator; La Gata Encantada was a combat monster; Linnaeus Jorgenson was an attempt to play a character who's good at social interaction and understanding people. All of these were outside the range of what I had previously played.
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:32 PM   #144
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Default Re: What will you not allow?

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Originally Posted by trooper6 View Post

I do not approach PCs as archetypes, rather as people.
Of course, and you're right to do so! The final character absolutely has to be a person; archetype is merely a starting point. But elements of this discussion were veering in the direction of suggesting that even reusing an archetype is at best marginally acceptable. My belief is that consciously or subconsciously, all PCs start as archetypes. I've yet to see a PC – and I've seen thousands – that coined an archetype I'd never previously encountered in fiction. I've seen a few that blended archetypes, but none that drilled a whole new pigeonhole. While I've seen plenty of PCs who were off-the-wall unique as people, I could always assign them to archetypes.

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post

Kromm discussed the idea that there are players who play one or a few archetypes. I have had players who were like that. But I've also had players who did what I do, which is to make a point of trying to come up with something different for each new campaign, to extend their own range and test their own limits. And that's something I really like in a player.
To be very GURPS-geeky (but I think that's allowed here!), it comes down to whether you want to be somebody who's gradually increasing the optional Acting (Roleplaying) specialty – which is different from the Games skill, I think – at 4 points per +1, or somebody who's putting those same points into a putative Persona technique for that skill, at 4 points per +4.

If you play a lot of different, short-term campaigns in a variety of settings with rotating GMs, you'll appreciate the generally skilled roleplayer much more. If your gaming group tends toward long-run campaigns which have a specific flavor set by the predilections of a go-to GM and go-to genre, you'll probably favor the specialist.

My experiences have largely been with gamers who appreciate a well-played character, but whose definition of "well-played" includes "portrays an essential type really well, and for a long time." That you could roleplay any 10 characters in any 10 campaigns competently (say, at skill 12) isn't relevant in the open-ended fantasy campaign where people expect you to play "gruff warrior" or "dutiful healer" consistently every week for years – for hundreds of game sessions, thousands of hours – and keep it expertly entertaining the whole time (say, at skill 16).

Perhaps it's just my general life biases showing, but while I appreciate the effort that goes into being a jack of all trades or renaissance man, I don't seek out such people when I want something done. I seek out the master or the specialist. For instance, my landlord's handyman who's merely an adequate carpenter, electrician, glazier, mason, plumber, roofer, etc. scares me . . . I'd never contract a person like that. But maybe if I were the HR director of a company that needed someone to wear 10 hats, I'd see it differently.
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Old 12-07-2017, 05:55 PM   #145
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Not to be too nitpicky, Kromm, but shouldn’t that be “Performance (Roleplaying)?” We’re not trying to convince our other players we’re someone else, just entertain them.

But, I agree. I usually don’t try to think of an archetype when making a character, but, when I’ve got the character in mind and start putting them to paper (or electrons), as soon as I realize what my general archetype is, I try to put a spin on it.

I can understand Bill’s position, and I agree with him, that if a player wants to bring their character, whole-cloth from Campaign A into my new campaign, and they want to bring everything they had with them, and none of it fits, then they need to return to the character concept stage. But, if they brought the idea to me and said “hey, I had this character in a D&D game that I just loved. I’d like to see how they play out as a Federation Marine in your Star Trek game. Can I do that?” I’d, probably, suggest against it, since Star Trek isn’t really the right place for a murder hobo, but, I could be convinced. On the other hand, we did have that Star Trek game where a running gag through the game was that Marines didn’t know phasers had a stun setting . . ..

As for specific sex/age/race/etc, we’re pretty loose on that. Only Hand of Bobb’s Teen Supers game has that dictated, and even then, it has some caveats. Additionally, as the game has continued, it’s getting more lenient as more people are developing powers. My Infinite Weirdos game had the caveat that you must be able to pass for TL8 Earth normal in five minutes or less of preparation time, under normal circumstances. But, that was for the original characters.

And, really, it does depend on the player. I have one player who can really only play himself. He’s just not a good roleplayer. He’s smart, and attentive, and a good (if not critical) thinker. But, he can really only play himself. We have another player who can play anything. You hand her a character sheet, she’ll read it (ask questions if she doesn’t understand something) and will play that character to the best of her ability. She’ll be a bit goofier than you might have really wanted, but, you’ll get her take on the character. And it’ll be a fair (if goofy, cannot understate the goofy) performance of what is on the sheet. Everyone who has ever played with her, loves her as a player. She works on Sundays so I miss her for my Infinite Weirdos game.

When I build their characters (I let them make their own characters once, and that was a mistake), I know what the guy wants. He wants a detective archetype. Variations are fine, but nothing really deviating from the archetype. The girl . . . I can just make her anything and she’ll run with it. She might even suggest changing character traits for something she’ll have more fun playing (“Can I swap greedy for kleptomania? As the halfling thief, can I have claustrophobia, but not know about it at the start? Can I use Forced Entry with my Erotic Art skill?”). She went from playing a female football player in Teen Supers, to an Orc thief in ICBINE, to a medical student in MAGOne’s horror game, to a gunslinger in a Star Wars game. All different people. All goofy. All played very well. If she ever wanted to play any of them again, I’d be more than happy to let her.
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Old 12-07-2017, 06:38 PM   #146
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Default Re: What will you not allow?

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
If you play a lot of different, short-term campaigns in a variety of settings with rotating GMs, you'll appreciate the generally skilled roleplayer much more. If your gaming group tends toward long-run campaigns which have a specific flavor set by the predilections of a go-to GM and go-to genre, you'll probably favor the specialist.

My experiences have largely been with gamers who appreciate a well-played character, but whose definition of "well-played" includes "portrays an essential type really well, and for a long time." That you could roleplay any 10 characters in any 10 campaigns competently (say, at skill 12) isn't relevant in the open-ended fantasy campaign where people expect you to play "gruff warrior" or "dutiful healer" consistently every week for years – for hundreds of game sessions, thousands of hours – and keep it expertly entertaining the whole time (say, at skill 16).

Perhaps it's just my general life biases showing, but while I appreciate the effort that goes into being a jack of all trades or renaissance man, I don't seek out such people when I want something done. I seek out the master or the specialist. For instance, my landlord's handyman who's merely an adequate carpenter, electrician, glazier, mason, plumber, roofer, etc. scares me . . . I'd never contract a person like that. But maybe if I were the HR director of a company that needed someone to wear 10 hats, I'd see it differently.
That's probably an accurate diagnosis.

In San Diego, I had a group of around fifteen regular players. Each time I started off a new cycle of campaigns, I would reassign and regroup them based on which proposals they liked. Commonly I would have a new person or two join in with a new cycle.

My usual practice was to have a cycle last two years, one session per month for each game; that is, a "campaign" for me was around 24 sessions and around 120 hours. In general, that was long enough for me to explore the premise and theme of a particular campaign, and to have the player characters come to life. There was one cycle where, as the end of the second year approached, all three campaigns were still very strong and had material left to explore (that's the one trooper6 has been referring to), so I extended that to a third year, or close to 200 hours.

Now, I'd say I was the go-to GM for that group; at least five of my players ran campaigns of their own at one time or another, but none was as consistent as I was or had as large a player circle. On the other hand, I didn't have a go-to genre. I ran a lot of fantasy—but "fantasy" includes many different options: present-day British teenagers strayed into the realm of the fair folk, voyagers on the Pearl Bright Ocean serving as privateers hired by the Atlantean Empire, inhabitants of an isolated castle in the midst of magically chaotic wilderness, and others; a lot of supers, ranging from streetlevel to the team who kept the world safe from the worldshakers; and a variety of other genres.

I had players who ran to type. There's the woman who nearly always ran the combat monster. There's the woman who used to run the prostitute (or ex-prostitute, in at least one campaign). There's the man who really loved playing dragons, or humans with draconic ties. But I also had players who wanted to try something new.

And a big part of the fun, for me, was coming up with a concept for a new game world and figuring out how things would work there. So having players who were ingenious about finding something to grab onto in my settings and developing it were really rewarding for me to run games for.
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Old 12-08-2017, 12:21 AM   #147
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Default Re: What will you not allow?

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Originally Posted by Mark Skarr View Post
Not to be too nitpicky, Kromm, but shouldn’t that be “Performance (Roleplaying)?” We’re not trying to convince our other players we’re someone else, just entertain them.
Not sure about that. Sometimes I'm trying to convince myself that I'm the character.
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Old 12-08-2017, 11:06 AM   #148
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Default Re: What will you not allow?

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Not sure about that. Sometimes I'm trying to convince myself that I'm the character.
I'm pretty sure that would be "Delusion."
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Old 12-08-2017, 12:42 PM   #149
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Default Re: What will you not allow?

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Roleplaying is more comparable to method acting than traditional acting. As I’d be more inclined to give a method actor Acting rather than Performance (although good method actors have both), I’d say Kromm’s suggestions of a specialization of Acting is the most appropriate.
I strongly disagree. Having known a fair number of method actors in my time, I'd rather not game with them again. The non-method actors are much easier to deal with and more fun in games. The method actors tend to take the game wa-aa-aa-aa-ay to seriously. Directors don't like Method Actors as they're notoriously hard to deal with (just Google for incidents about Daniel Day Lewis, Christian Bale, or Heath Ledger). The Method is a horrible way to play a role-playing game. Role-Playing is Performance, not Acting.

Acting is "lying."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Characters, pg 174
This is the ability to counterfeit moods, emotions, and voices, and to lie convincingly over a period of time.
Performance is "acting."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Characters, pg 213
It is different from Acting in that you are trying to impress and entertain people – not deceive them.
(emphasis from book)

A role-player isn't trying to deceive their other players, but entertain them. Acting defaults to Performance and vice-versa. A good Actor (performance) can use their craft to lie convincingly over time. A good Con Artist (Acting, not the quick-con Fast-Talk), would be able to use their skills to perform on stage or screen. Neither would be as good as the other at their chosen profession, but both could pull it off passably.

Which brings up a good point. I would not let a Method Actor game with me (again). Gaming is fun, not a job. You are not your character, your character is not you. It's just a game. If you're taking it personally, you're doing it wrong (my opinion).
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Old 12-08-2017, 01:11 PM   #150
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Default Re: What will you not allow?

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Which brings up a good point. I would not let a Method Actor game with me (again). Gaming is fun, not a job. You are not your character, your character is not you. It's just a game. If you're taking it personally, you're doing it wrong (my opinion).
I'm a method actor and I don't take things personally...because...you know...I'm acting. But I think it is important to know if, for example, as a GM, you don't want to play with Method Actors because you think taking the game wa-ay too seriously is unfun. Because as a Method Actor type (using Robin Laws's typologies here), I wouldn't have fun in a game (unless we are talking about one-shots) that wasn't being treated seriously.

Which now reminds me of one more thing I don't like. It isn't a Not Allow...but is is a serious Do Not Like. I don't like people drinking alcohol during game. For me, beer and pretzels is for after the game when we are just doing the fun hangout it isn't for the game, which I take more seriously. I want the great art and the profundity. I don't want the Monty Python jokes that go on way too long for my taste.

ETA: There has developed a sort of Macho Method Acting exemplified by people like Christian Bale, Daniel Jay Lewis, Jared Leto, et al. That has almost no relationship with method techniques I was taught in drama classes. It is really not a good example of theatrical method developed by Stanislavski. But also in an RPG context, I'm talking bout the Robin Laws Definition of the Method Actor player type. He describes it as more obstinate than I'm used to, especially as the "Yes and" aesthetic from improv theatre makes its way into more and more Method Actor/Storyteller heavy RPG groups.

Last edited by trooper6; 12-08-2017 at 01:15 PM.
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