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11:38 AM
now, what does this do?
 
Brian Ballsun-Stanton has unfrozen this room.
 
Ah.
@Zachiel you here?
 
This is a room I created to take D&D 4e monsters and updating them to level-1 damage. Never really worked as a community project.
So well, I'm statblocking anyways.
 
A little background. Me or the game first?
 
11:40 AM
okay, step 1. Parameters
 
OOOk
 
edition, other players, community norms.
Ah, no
Step 0. A precommit that once we arrive at a decision, it's done and you'll do it.
No backtracking, and an acknolwedgement that this will produce the character that you will use
 
If I don't do this by tomorrow evening 24:00 local time I lose 5% more of my current XP. Being in my interest to make this change by that date, being done earlier if we get to a conclusion is not a problem. I agree.
 
right. okay. Edition and venue.
oh, and is ....
wait, is this that online house rule game?
 
So, the game system is a subset of D&D 3.5, but most of the social dynamics are done by roleplaying and meta manipulation (heavy amounts of meta manipulation like "but that is the amount of privileges my character would get" is frowned upon by game owners and they just say no)
yes, it is. Are you backing out?
 
11:44 AM
oh yes. This game.
::sigh::
 
at least you're familiar with why people think they can't help me and they don't want to touch this with a 10 feet pole
 
okay, so, next step, have you read any of the books on social interactions I've cited?
Eh, I've got some delicious 15 year old whiskey.
 
[props feet up, munches popcorn loudly]
 
to actually solve this problem, you, personally, need to put some XP into skills.
For a proximate solution to the specific problem before us: 3.5 with analysis paralysis, there are actually solutions.
Step 1. Narrative requirements.
Every great hero needs a weakness, a reason for drama.
So, we'll start with your weakness.
Not in a mechanical sense, since the mechanics simply don't matter, but in a narrative sense.
 
I had a very similar discussion with a lovely barbarina girl and her rhum bottle but her eyes started bleeding halfway the description of what past events made my psychology so terrible.
Anyway, I've read some but my memory is not that strong. Most of it was met with "hey I don't want to be that manipulative, I want to do it the straight way"
 
11:49 AM
@Zachiel It's not manipualtion, it's persuasion. There's a difference.
While I am a Doctor, I'm not a medical doctor, I won't consult on your psychology, but you should see a therapist.
But read that book.
 
And ok, but this time I start from a favorable position. The player I had promlem with appears not to be playing that much anymore, the problematic admins have backed off because real life calls
 
Remember: Hoddan observed:
"A practical man can always make what he wants to do look like a noble sacrifice of personal inclinations to the welfare of the community. I've decided that I've got to be practical myself, and that's one of the rules. How about breakfast?"
 
so. What's your dramatic weakness
@BESW I'm quite sure we did :)
 
(I saw a therapist. We talked a lot. I'm not sure I changed much)
 
11:50 AM
@Zachiel how many sessions did you attend? And did it include a drug regimen?
Self change is a very long and hard process.
Acute problems can be solved by one-off therapy. Chronic problems... not so much.
And I'm not going there tonight.
 
I see. I had two free sessions.
 
@Zachiel Yeah. that's enough to get an idea if you trust them.
Start with a year commitment
 
Sometimes I guess my worst problem is that I don't want to spend. Including having NPCs cast contingencies on me, which means I usually crave for a "do everything yourself" character
 
anything less than that is a waste of time.
@Zachiel wrong answer.
What dramatic thing do you want to explore?
What briar patch is at your back?
 
You might need to unpack that metaphor.
 
11:55 AM
Hah, very hard question
 
That's why I linked the story.
Go read that.
 
I know very well which dramatic things I don't want to happen, or at least the ones I don't belive I want to happen. Like character death, unability to do or say the right thing when people are evaluating me, being considered useless because I either can't do something (e.g. getting one-shotted by an NPC when I had to win for my lord) or have nothing to offer to other PCs so they want me around.
 
no.
I'm asking about drama
not about mechanics or events or anything like that.
What great weakness do you want to explore? What gets your character to do the wrong thing?
Mechanics are a piffle.
Elcoution is something that can never be simulated by mechanics, and can therefore be ignored.
Utility is a function of imagination, and can therefore be ignored.
Death is inevitable from the mechanics, and, for now, can be ignored.
The way to get other PCs to want you around is to offer them a story, to offer them drama
 
uhm, is drama negative only, like tragedy? [comprehension issues]
 
give them a narrative hook, and you'll never need to descend...
ah.
Let me go find some Aristotle.
 
12:01 PM
"Drama" is misused often enough that even non-ESL people tend to have a lot of trouble with what's meant by it.
 
(also, my router is going off-and-on again, so sorry for the slowdown)
 
My mother deals with it in her 110 composition courses.
 
Drama, is essentially acted conflict that allows the viewers to project themselves into the conflict, identify with the elements, and achieve some sort of emotional response at the conflusion.
For most of time, that response was catharsis, a resolution of the cognitive dissonance engendered by the conflict.
In literature, the literary element conflict is an inherent incompatibility between the objectives of two or more characters or forces. Conflict creates tension and interest in a story by adding doubt as to the outcome. A narrative is not limited to a single conflict. While conflicts may not always resolve in narrative, the resolution of a conflict creates closure, which may or may not occur at a story's end. Basic nature of conflict Conflict in literature refers to the different drives of the characters or forces involved. Conflict may be internal or external—that is, it may occur within...
The perfect person, in a book, will sit very quietly all day and... read a good book.
Nothing happens because the character doesn't want anything.
Nothing bad nor good happens. It just... is.
What is the most recent book you've read?
 
This is why Fate characters have trouble aspects: the system is making the claim that good storytelling needs characters who get in trouble.
 
and yes, this is one of my problems. In the game I'm currently playing I get often told I'm an NPC. I want to be friends with everyone and I get some unsatisfaction becaue 1) unrealizable expectation and 2) I actively try to do nothing that could create conflict, often renouncing to doing what I wanted to do.
 
12:09 PM
@Zachiel yes.
Therefore, we're starting with the crux of the problem. What kind of drama do you like
 
and since I'm not writing all the parts of the story myself, closure is not my choice
 
what's your most recent favourite book?
@Zachiel oh, characters strive for closure, and some may achieve temporary ones. That's not the interesting bit.
 
recent favourite book... must be Q. But I don't read this much narrative, lately, except actual plays and other people roleplaying in those games (which makes it hard to create something new to them)
 
which plays?
.... oookay, that's going to be a challenging book to deconstruct.
but, okay, so. What's the protagonist's motivation? Why does he get out of bed in the morning? What, about the world, dissatisfies him?
a character's central drama is "I [want | don't want] this, so therefore, I have to do that thing that I don't want to do."
 
Be warned. When I read a book, sometimes the pleasure I get is just from the writing style. Back on Q, I clearly remebered reading the incipit and saying to myself "wow. this is what I'd like a D&D campaign to be". Of course, that could never work as a D&D game
(the main character is running from inquisition, hides in a town with his mentor, they get discovered, he flees alone while the old and ill mentor gets captured, he has some important letters to smuggle, runs in the woods, kills enemies to steal a horse)
That said, on your questions:
The protagonist's mission is to fight the system
 
12:17 PM
@Zachiel okay, so he wants to celebrate his religion
He wants his faith. Therefore, he has to go on the run.
There must always be a need
 
He knows things. He was in places, he knew people. And the system (church, banks) is trying to rewrite history and hide their deeds, which he does not want to happen, but he can't just come in the open.
 
of course there are many reasons to read a book
@Zachiel There!
He wants the truth to be free.
That's his conflict. That's his drama
 
I'm not sure this would work in a world where faiths are true things, gods walk the earth and truth spells and divinations exist
 
He wants this grand thing, and other people *don't *want it.
@Zachiel nonono, stop thinking about the specifics
look at the pattern
 
Oh ok, but just to fix it for later: I need to build for the setting.
 
12:20 PM
He wants X so that Y. Other people object to Y, other people object to X.
Meh, that's trivial
Proper nouns can be dropped in for archetypes without too much trouble. That's just pattern matching.
You're dodging.
 
So trivial that I got told my other character, Leilani (the NPC) is disconnected from the setting and is thus uninteresting to the other players
 
We have a blank slate.
Yep
ARticualte a want.
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton I have two "scenes" or "things" in my mind. Two possible background seeds. Do you want me to talk about them now, later or f*** that we're gonna do our thing from scratch?
 
You're welcome to articulate the element I'm asking for from any place that inspires you.
What. Does. Your. Character. Want?
 
The. Hell. If. I. Know.
More seriously, I think he wants to build some sort of family, to feel integrated. I guess it's too generic and there's not enough enemies on this road.
Articulating from places (being a cleric of nobanion or being a merchant sent to a new town to manage the "I buy old things" shop) I guess he wants power and money. Again too generic and unflavorful, right?
 
12:26 PM
right, he wants a family
cool
That's a great goal
now. Why can't he have one?
 
Uhm, because he has a low charisma and nobady wants him? (No, ok, because I can't roleplay a low charisma, I often create mor troubles to the other characters than it's worth and they either are already a family with someone, not interested in me or not who I'd like to have as a family) - in game... it depends on the other players. If we're looking about why he couldn't get one in his past... he had no occasion to build one is what cames to my mind.
 
Wrong level of abstraction.
Why can't he have one right now?
remember, this is what he wants, which means there must be something (equally abstract) stopping him from getting what he wants
"no occasion to build one" means that he didn't want it.
don't think about mechanics, don't think about specifics.
 
he can't have one right now because he just moved to this region of the world and he knows nobody
He also needs time to decide who he wants to live with
(better?)
(but this is not motivation, it's more initial situation...)
 
Yes.
try again.
now, we can expand the first one to: "He doesn't have the money for a dowry for the woman he loves."
or "The woman he loves doesn't love him."
Or, the perrential favourite: "Her father won't allow the marrage"
 
or "he's too busy with his work / adventuring / study to commit?"
 
12:35 PM
no!
This is your character's highest priority
If the conflict lies within him (that's for the advanced class) he can just go "eh, I'll ignore the bullshit and do what I want to do."
What thing in the world is stopping him from family?
 
I guess nothing is
does this mean it's a weak need?
 
So, start over.
What does your character want?
remember, you must introduce this conflict
set up the opposition yourself.
the nature of the world is to say "there is no opposition"
And then the story is: "And my character got what he wanted. The end."
The trick is to find the fun opposition. The story you like to tell
 
Maybe he's Prufrock.
 
I already heard that name
 
@BESW You're not helping :)
 
12:39 PM
Yeah, Prufrock's obstacles are not obstacles I'd suggest for a multiplayer game where the point is interplayer interaction.
 
Oppositions you can't met are always good because your need never ends, but they can get frustrating.
 
No no no no
The point is to resolve them.
frustration has little part in the drama we're proposing
but they must not be resolved
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton tl;dr?
 
resolvable but not resolved.
"I want a family, but I have no wife." "I want a wife, but the lord forbids our marrage." "The lord wants a dowry fit for a king, but I am poor."
Suddenly, your character has a fundamental goal and a critical path to be resolved in game to reach that goal.
Hell, look at Noir stories.
I've been reading Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe. Fantastic series.
 
12:41 PM
@BrianBallsun-Stanton So something like "I want to get everyone working togheter in harmony against the greater enemy" "but they have opposing views n the world" would work?
 
@Zachiel no.
well, for advanced stuff
 
I think I've read most of Nero Wolfe's novels
 
this should be local for now.
Right, so Nero hates idiots and never wants to go outside
He wants to be left alone with his orchids.
But, his townhouse is expensive, so therefore, he must hire out his genius to pay the rent.
good literary characters have a number of these chains, all tensioned in different directions. We won't go that far yet.
But even the simplest thing. "I want to be out of debt, but I don't have the money." "I don't want to be kneecapped next month, so I want to be out of debt."
find the patterns that get your character out of bed.
"Get everyone working together in harmony" basically means dominating the entire world. It's not a very dramatic goal for a hero. (Great goal for a villain though)
 
I earn 1000 gp per day so it's not getting out of debt
XD
 
::sigh::
your game... Is a great reason why 3.5 isn't the right system.
 
12:45 PM
well it's made to get on line with wealth-per-level
 
Oh, I'm sure there are good and well justified reasons
 
but since you can level up without questing
(a friend of mine often saids that people level up frolicking togheter and she's offended nobody stops that)
 
... yep
So, what does your character want?
 
but I'm fed up with not getting action
(that's still me, not my PC, but I could use it)
 
er.
"not getting action"
 
12:48 PM
Weird how it was way easier for my evil character. She wanted to inflict pain on people but wanted to do it legally, not to get jailed
 
there are two ways of parsing that.
Yes, evil characters have drama built in.
Have an evil character. They're fun.
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton Here's my ten-foot pole; I won't be using it.
 
@BESW ... did you wash it first?
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton Leilani is an acrobat. And an NPC, basically. DMs don't quest me because they don't know what to do with me. I either run away or die.
 
cause ew
@Zachiel Yes. Destroy your character concept. It is gone
A rock has hit you on the head.
You are a new man now.
 
12:49 PM
@BrianBallsun-Stanton I have a goblin hireling who washes it for me.
 
Don't salavage NPCs
@BESW .....
@BESW I hate you so much.
 
I know where it's been!
 
@BESW Yes. Read this entire convo in the two contexts.I hate you.
 
Oh, yes.
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton I've been told I shouldn't roleplay evil because I put myself into conflicts that put me into anxious crisis and I try to metagame to escape from them. I've been told I should start from the basics with a simple character I know how to RP, then when I can play that one I can start adding complexity
 
12:50 PM
@Zachiel Great. okay. Right. Family. Family is good.
 
This is usually where people tell me "you're playing with idiots, I'm out of it"
 
Meh.
The truth is the truth, avoiding it is bullshit.
Most of the advice has been mechanical.
Find a drama you want to explore, and all else flows natrually
Your fundamental problem in this game is a lack of drama that you feel safe exploring. Therefore you negate the drama and become an NPC.
while that works for life, albiet a very lonely and unhappy one, it doesn't work for an RPG beyond "Bob's adventures in accountancy."
which ... 3.5 purports to simulate and doesn't.
 
I'm not sure it's working in life, but ok
 
We're not looking for fiddly psychological problems.
Simply Man V. Man or Man. v. Environment
You want to liberate the fortress from the dark lord, but you are not yet strong enough.
 
New attempt:
So, my character does not really want to get a family, he wants to become part of a group that he feels like family. He can't because he realizes this is utopy and he's trying to avoid the delusion.
 
12:57 PM
..... simpler
But "I want to belong to $group, but they won't accept me"
that's fine.
don't do psych stuff.
So, I want to belong to a knightly order, but they won't accept me.
 
I still have no idea which group I want to be in.
 
make it up.
we're building requirements
here are your four food groups: political, academic, military, subversive.
 
so should I choose from one of the groups in that environment?
 
don't worry about specifics.
 
ok
 
12:58 PM
specifics can be found once you know your requirements
you must articulate your requirements first, and the requirements must be articulated from the drama you want.
while, in normal games, competent DMs can be relied upon to provide drama...
here, they're playing a game that they shouldn't play, as are you, so you'll have to do more of the heavy lifting.
 
So, I know we're statring from clean slate but just to see how this works: one of the character seeds I had was "I'm a wizard who lives in Amn, where wizardry is seen as dangerous." It was a reason to move to the game area, not a real reason (then again, you could buy the rights to be a wizard, why didn't my merchant family bought one?)
 
so. I want to practice wizardry, but if I do so publically, I'll be lynched.
or, better
i want to be admired as a powerful wizzard, but everyone thinks I'm a sneaky git.
 
In this case the solution was easy: moving to a different country
git?
 
no drama.
... um, ..
@BESW translate "git"
 
A jerk.
 
1:02 PM
@BrianBallsun-Stanton yes, yes, I know. That's why I said it was not "a real reason"
 
@Zachiel But yes. "belonging" is a very good desire.
Political, Academic, Military, Subversive
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton looks like the last character I played there, willing to get enough reputation to be allowed to cast Spider Body and patrlo the town in drider shape with people accepting her.
 
@Zachiel ....
Yes.
um
Let's not get into "self perpetuating stereotypes"
 
Which, since I like the idea of polymorphing, could still be valid (I was also suggested to play a master transmogryfist) but yes, self perpetuating is bad
 
nonono. belonging is good
you're trying to escape to the details
What group do you want to belong to?
what kind of group?
 
1:08 PM
Knowing myself, I'd say a popular group. And a group that would be really hard to get in. But again, that's self perpetuating too. I tried to get into the guild whose morose leader blamed me for being too licentious and flashy.
I don't know if itìs the same for my character
 
yeah, we won't be setting up other characters in oppsition
and "popular" doesn't mean anything
 
I probably need to want to be in a group I know I can't fit, so the problem stays and I can join another group (I already pity them) and talk about my pr... no wait, no recursion.
 
Solvable problems.
 
we want a nice simple NPC group that you do not yet meet the requirements for, but can.
Drama is in the resolution of conflict.
 
so when I get to the objective what can I do?
find another one?
afk 2 minutes
 
1:11 PM
retire the character and celebrate victory.
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton I think the game group values/rewards sticking with one character throughout.
 
@BESW Yes. I'm sure. Very very low objectives to start with.
I mean, in the best of all possible worlds, the resolution of the first want will have introduced other wants.
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton Grup dynamics usually gets something else into action, true.
 
but that's not what we're working on
 
yeah
 
1:15 PM
Give me a goal that can be achieved in the future, but cannot be acheived in the present.
 
A non-mechanical one
 
yes.
a character goal
mechanics will support the goal, and realize it
 
D&D 3.5e's mechanics? Really?
 
@Zachiel sure.
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton In tonight's one-shot, a carpenter who wanted bandits to not burn down his house... became the new bandit king, crueller and more violent than the previous one. Obvious next step is mutiny in the ranks.
 
1:18 PM
@BESW yep
Side effects and radioactive debris are the foundations of future stories.
 
how do you feel about "being able to understand who could help him get in touch with the organization and getting on his side"? I... I always had problems setting goals, even in my life. Things just kinda happen to me. I'm really worried for when I will need to pay the bills myself.
 
Yes.
That's the problem.
big. Real. Goals.
sub-goals will come later.
"I want to join X. But the wont have me... Yet."
Give me an X
 
I can tell you things I wished I have achieved during previous playthroughs, like "getting married to someone more powerful than me"
but I don't really know if this can help
 
Yea, let's not get too ambitious.
Don't deal with other PCs, since you'll fold.
environment is a nice, easy, target.
 
So, environment is the north-western part of the Forgotten realms. Icewind Dale, Luskan, Port-Llast, to the north-western part of the Forest. Nesmé, Mirabar, Neverwinter, the Lurkwood.
 
1:24 PM
err
... ::sigh::
So, you're in the realms.
great. You want to join the harpers.
 
I'm getting to which NPC organizations are there and to how they're currently managed in game
 
Now, are the harpers an NPC organization?
... right, very good, I'll wait.
 
Basically, any player can choose to get affiliated to an existing organization so I can't really be sure no PCs would make part of it ever. They can only join by creating a cell, which acts independently (so that NPC direct guidance is not necessary and they get some freedom)
 
there's also the option to make up something from scratch, but this we don't care about since there are no NPCs there
 
1:27 PM
so in your game, the only conflict really is with other humans.
and you don't like conflict with humans.
 
I've seen people manage conflict with others
 
oh, there are plenty of human versus human techinques... just none are a good fit for you.
Is there dungeon crawling?
 
like this girl whose husband was killed by dragons and she decided to take revenge on the world by entering the cult of the dragon and manipualting dragons for the ultimate goal of destroying the world
 
like a proper "bash down the door" dungeon crawl?
 
The DMs often had some Cult of the Dragon NPC giving her cell missions, or hostile NPCs attacked them
 
1:29 PM
the trick here is to find activities that you're willing and capable of engaging in
Right. okay. ::sigh::
so, standard pattern is something like "disgraced priest of sun god looking for forgiveness."
... at which point D&D says "Atonement. Next?
 
Yes, there are dungein crawls. They're not everyday's life because the number of DMs is not proportionate to the number of players, they might not be present in the same time slots as me or they could be busy playing their character somewhere else in the map (though they're allowed to DM and play in two separate places at the same timee, provided they can manage it)
 
Are you familiar with the hipster movement?
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton I have lost an eye. I want revenge". "Let me regenerate you".
 
@Zachiel yes.
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton not that much
@BrianBallsun-Stanton No, I want to keep it as a Memento! XD
 
1:32 PM
okay, right, so. Goal "You want to eliminate the undead from a region."
it's a very boring goal, but... well, it's a goal.
Reason you can't "wtihout allies, they'll eat your face."
undead are a nice... safe... target
::sigh::
 
"I want to stop Outsiders from meddling with my community"
 
D&D really needs activities.
 
(perfect Incantatrix goal)
 
@Zachiel phrase it in an active step.
and .... no
just no
 
Which part no?
 
1:33 PM
don't bother with an optimised character. There's no point.
Choose a single class, stick with it. Spending time on prestige classes in this context ... doesn't matter
 
Oh don't worry. I need to play a male, remember? And we already have enough Incantatars (one).
 
But yes. Undead hunter.
You're a cleric, hunting undead.Scouting for undaed. Finding groups to help you kill them. Moving on once the scourge is done.
 
Aberration hunter?
 
Sure, that works too. You're a druid, hunting aberrations.
Your objective is: make your group awesome, and don't cheese yourself.
Be a resource for the parties you find
scout out the environments such that you can present maps to the leaders
lots of solo work of "find out what's going on."
then "find people to help me go on an adventure"
then "make them awesome"
Don't be strong. Make other people strong to protect you.
Play whatever divine casting provides the best buffs to others.
Then you offer them an implicit, simple deal. Protect me, and help me with my goals, and I'll make you awesome.
 
Mmmmh lots of solo work might mean keeping the scarce resource (DMs) for me or getting told "just describe what you want to do and I'll tell you what you find". Might.
Oter for that, I liked being a chameleon and buffing whole low level parties
 
1:37 PM
That's great. You're scouting. Basically go "Here's this map of a dungeon I've prepared for you"
"here are some of the standard encounters that I'd expect to find, and here are some fill in the blank variables for the boss fight."
 
then maybe the problem with me is that I wish I was useful to the estabilished characters I want to integrate with but they have already reached their equilibrium
 
your solo work, in character, is a way of helping the DMs out of character.
so go somewhere else.
go on a solo crusade, show off your awesome-making capabilities on NPCs until someone needs you
 
mmmh not really sure it can work. I have a friend who is a DM in this game who is reading us (since he knows the characters I play and a similar environment, I tought it was a good idea to introduce him to this "I'll do whatever comes out from here" experiment) but has problems logging in. Do you think it could be useful to ask him his impressions on this "going alone"?
 
well, it's midnight. I will leave you in his capable hands.
g'night.
 
@BrianBallsun-Stanton Thank you and see you tomorrow, if you can
Also: Leilani would be a great scout, with her hide modifiers and athletic skills. But she never gets asked to do that because things usually just happen to the PCs without warning or characters just prefer to go places and be absolutely awesome at beating whatever comes up, rather than waiting to know what awaits them from a girl who could die on the first uninteresting dungeon crawl. (But that's an idea and she could put out word that she's ok with doing the crawls)
And oh, if "you're a druid" etc. etc. was the character that came out of this conversation, I've had problems roleplaying a druid in the past. I was one but I passed more time running behind damsels to be credible. (Maybe the real problem was trying to roleplay an halfling (I am an halfling and I'm so proud of being one!) who passed his days camouflaged as a different race. (MoMF, and I got told "no more wacky PCs like that one).
But if it's druid, I guess I gave my word on it.
 

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