Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Your die roll most likely was just busy work

I was reading this, and in time honoured tradition I'll ignore the larger subject and bite at a subject it raises as absolutely true (or it seems to be depicted that way).

The passage in question is this.
Sometimes all an Owlbear really wants is to be scratched behind the ears or to share that bag of Twizzlers you’ve got in your pocket; you just need to roll the dice to find out.
 What I kinda hate is the false legitimacy rolling a small, multicided piece of plastic apparently lends. It's like this post, except that guy can actually state its all dice rolling for show. I'll quote from it
A surprising number of people need a die roll to add authenticity to narration, even if there's no set DC and the DM is basically just gonna tell you that you succeed unless the die comes up really low. To be honest, I'm one of those people sometimes -- it's as if the trappings of mechanical support make it seem like you're actually doing something impartial, rather than just bullshitting.

Psst, it's the GM just saying you can! Were all acting like were not voting ourselves a payrise, but that's what's happening - were all just voting ourselves a payrise. We roll a dice, pretend that matters somehow, then we all just pat each other on the back for being awesome.

This will seem horrible to some (and with it, an impossible conclusion to make) because that's all that roleplay can be.

Okay, we can go traditional or newer stuff - for traditional, death. For newer stuff, a player defined loss mechanic: maybe the player states their character has a picture of their loved one (they can't easily replace) and that's at risk.

Right - now lets say the roll to determine if the owlbear just wants to be friends could, on a set series of numbers, involve death or loss of something important to the PC.

Now things are heating up!

Or no, you just roll something and then maybe the GM just says yeah, the owl bear is totally your friend - I'll indulge myself since it's my blog. No, your play sucks. It's a dead, cramped thing. It's totally great for you to give excuses to give your friends pats on the back (which is fine if you can admit that's all you want out of coming to the table). But your play is a dead, withered thing that looks like it stickily fell off the sole of someones shoe.

Your play sucks. But you've been patted on the back enough about it, you really genuinely actually think it's bigger and better than 'hitting some buttons'. No, the person hitting the buttons has gone through something far more arduous than your delusion that you 'used the power of imagination!!1!'.

Again, I don't mind if people just want an excuse to pat each other on the back and can admit to that.

But when they really encourage someone to think they are doing something they aren't - what is that?

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