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 Post subject: Re: What is a Starting Character?
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 4:12 am 
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Ian, Grettir said "most" players without Gamist priorities. I think you're making the mistake of projecting your own specific preferences onto what you think roleplaying as a whole should be.

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 Post subject: Re: What is a Starting Character?
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 5:25 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Most serious gamers without Gamist priorities would happily play a game without character progression...

Really?

So, ipso facto, those who want character progression are either Gamist or not serious gamers?

Erm, no? Maybe they are of the minority?

Also, please understand that I am not miffed about or anything, especially as you’ve given the original quote, but rewording what I’ve said doesn’t quite work. Neither have I said “all gamers”, so your “ipso facto” cannot follow automatically, nor have I said “happily”; I think there’s quite a difference between being “happy” about something and being “not dismayed” about it, a phrasing I chose deliberately.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
This view relies on the idea of disposable characters being played in short run scenarios, IMO.

My notion is without a doubt rooted there, yes.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
If you play the same character for a couple of years in a couple of campaigns with a dozen scenarios, and the character doesn't change as a result of their activities, then -- quite frankly -- what's the point?

I am a bit at a loss with this statement. Do you really see no point in playing unless your character experiences mechanical advancement? For me, it seems to follow that mechanical advancement is what you enjoy most about role-playing, to the point where the other pleasures of it become “pointless” without it, and that’s not exactly the impression I have formed of your preferences.

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 Post subject: Re: What is a Starting Character?
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 9:05 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Most serious gamers without Gamist priorities would happily play a game without character progression...

Really?

So, ipso facto, those who want character progression are either Gamist or not serious gamers?


Grettir wrote:
Erm, no? Maybe they are of the minority?


Or maybe they aren't...? What is the basis for the belief that they are in the minority?

Ian.Plumb wrote:
If you play the same character for a couple of years in a couple of campaigns with a dozen scenarios, and the character doesn't change as a result of their activities, then -- quite frankly -- what's the point?


Grettir wrote:
I am a bit at a loss with this statement. Do you really see no point in playing unless your character experiences mechanical advancement?


Quoting earlier:

Ian.Plumb wrote:
If there's no character development, mechanically, then I won't play it.


To me it reeks of tedium to play an unchanging -- mechanically -- character for months and years of real time.

Grettir wrote:
For me, it seems to follow that mechanical advancement is what you enjoy most about role-playing, to the point where the other pleasures of it become “pointless” without it, and that’s not exactly the impression I have formed of your preferences.


Why "most"?

For me, if there's no mechanical advancement then there's no "game" in role-playing game. A role-playing game, at some level, is competitive. You want to win the fight. You want to steal the treasure. You want to rescue the princess. Whatever. It's not the main focus. Maybe it's not even secondary. But if it's not there at all? If your warrior has the same capacity to fight after months of play that they did at the start? No thanks. Give me a TRoS scenario any day.

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 Post subject: Re: What is a Starting Character?
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 9:08 am 
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Daeruin wrote:
Ian, Grettir said "most" players without Gamist priorities. I think you're making the mistake of projecting your own specific preferences onto what you think roleplaying as a whole should be.


Crikey, I even quoted his post in mine. I think the opposite is true. I have said what I, personally, like to see in a game that I would play. Grettir has said that most gamers would hold a a particular value set. Who exactly is projecting here?

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 Post subject: Re: What is a Starting Character?
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 10:31 am 
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Grettir wrote:
For me, it seems to follow that mechanical advancement is what you enjoy most about role-playing, to the point where the other pleasures of it become “pointless” without it, and that’s not exactly the impression I have formed of your preferences.
Ian.Plumb wrote:
Why "most"?

Because you call it an element without which gaming is pointless for you. If it’s that important, it suggests to me that it must be the most mportant element, or that there is at least no other, more important one.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
For me, if there's no mechanical advancement then there's no "game" in role-playing game. A role-playing game, at some level, is competitive. You want to win the fight. You want to steal the treasure. You want to rescue the princess. Whatever. It's not the main focus. Maybe it's not even secondary. But if it's not there at all? If your warrior has the same capacity to fight after months of play that they did at the start? No thanks.

Ah, I see. Maybe I am assuming too much from my own group, of which I can say that we have jettisoned all competitiveness long ago. I honestly don’t see the point of it, and I have assumed that others, once they are past the initial few years of role-playing and have had their fill of it, loose much of their taste for it, too.

Maybe we are not on the same page here, but I understand competitivess not as trying to overcome some obstacle, but competing against somebody. Playing a game of solitaire isn’t imo competitve, even though you want to see it completed, but playing a game of poker is. I view the challenges of a role-playing scenario as equally unpersonal; I don’t compete with the other players to be the first or the best to overcome the challenges, and I don’t compete with the referee to see wether I can overcome them at all.

In that respect, I honestly totally fail to see the merit of mechanical character deveopment, even over months and years of game time. I mean, I enjoy what my character goes through, but as long as he’s capable to tackle the challenges put to him (that’s a caveat), I derive no enjoyment from going up a point in Wits or somesuch. It doesn’t even mean that my character will be generally more successful – referees rack up the level of opposition as the characters’ capabilities grow. I liked my characters getting more powerful when I still played closer to wargaming, but nowadays, all development I still care about is in terms of what one would call character development in a story.

So, I don’t know, maybe that’s a bit of a dumb question, but can you lay your finger on what exactly you enjoy about your characters getting more competent? I honestly can’t see how this can be important to anybody without strong Gamist priorities. :?

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 Post subject: Re: What is a Starting Character?
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 10:48 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Certic wrote:
A Traveller character might not ever get better than Auto rifle-2 but has clearly changed if he ends up owning a small fleet of traders;

Which I'm guessing is why I'm playing TRoS and not Traveller...?

Yes, and me too: classic Traveller annoyed me because characters never improved in that way - but I wouldn't argue that it wasn't an RPG at all, or that it makes the PCs unchanging.

With reference to NPCs and "starting characters" I'll stick with these same two extreme examples: in D&D we'd look through Rogues Gallery or some other collection of NPCs and not be surprised that they were all more powerful than the 1st level kids we'd just rolled up. A list of Traveller NPCs, though, wouldn't be expected to contain too many that are tougher than your newly created 38-year-old ex-marine. The start point is different. My argument is that a starting TROS character should be able to be anywhere between those two extreme points.


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 Post subject: Re: What is a Starting Character?
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 2:03 pm 
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Grettir wrote:
I mean, I enjoy what my character goes through, but as long as he’s capable to tackle the challenges put to him (that’s a caveat), I derive no enjoyment from going up a point in Wits or somesuch.
I couldn't agree more. To paraphrase a recent discussion about my non-TROS game:

Player: "When was the last time we received some experience points by the way?"
Me: "Uh, I'll have to check."
*flipping my notes*
Me: "December 2007."
Player: "And before that?"
*more through flipping*
Me: "June or July 2006, I can't tell for sure."

As it turned out, everybody had simply forgotten about experience points. :)
My game runs an average of 80 sessions per year. :ugeek:

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 Post subject: Re: What is a Starting Character?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:31 pm 
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I agree with Ian here.

I and my group do not play games to have the same static character. We play for the excitement of the story, to discover the next clue or prize and to increase the abilities. Which in-turn allows the character to take on more and find more clues and larger prizes.

It is not necessarily competition between players, though that does happen at times. It is more of competition with the senechals story.

Online games work exactly like this and is why they are so popular. (minus the story many times) But they are about that next 'nugget' that next kernal, just a little better and get a little more on and on.

It appeals to our senses as humans, particularly male humans we like to get better and get things. Now that is largely competition with each other.



Even reading is about the progression of the characters, particularly if it is a series. In the case of the Dark Tower series, it was towards an object, but character wise we saw a progression. Not necessarily positive in this character example.


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 Post subject: Re: What is a Starting Character?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:35 pm 
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There's more in-depth topic on the subject of character progression here: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=364

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