Are you a Roll-player or a Role-player?

Discussion in 'Pen and paper games' started by fantomas, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. insmouth

    insmouth Just Joined

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    Sorry Logan - I also meant Long Campaign. I tend to term a game as a campaign and each time you sit down to play a session. Just my twisted terminology! ;)
     
  2. logan9a

    logan9a Getting Started

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    Oh - OK. My terminology:

    Session - when you sit down to play a game.
    Campaign - interconnected series of adventures.
     
  3. ReaperSmurf

    ReaperSmurf ARMA Captain

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    Role-player here... but haven't played for over twelve months, and have at least one friend who'd be interested in playing something again.

    I've also written my own system, however it's not quite finished. The basic mechanics are done, but the magic system isn't complete so it only works in a no-magic genre at the moment. If I had people to play with I'd probably get the inspiration to sit down and finish it off...
     
  4. TickledBlue

    TickledBlue Getting Started

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    Interesting question roll vs role and I think one that can be a little problematic. Personally I prefer story over rules - which is why one of my favourite games of all time is Tribe 8. If you love a rich, detailed and thought provoking backstory I can heartily recommend this one (if you can still find it).

    What it boils down to though, I think, is play style and group expectations. Fantomas mentioned earlier in the thread that I ran a very rules light game where people didn't even have character sheets till many sessions into the game. That was a lot of fun for me, but it is hard to keep going especially as some players started to feel directionless and uncertain of where they wanted to take their characters and the game as a whole. The problem there I think was that I didn't provide a rigid enough plot structure and the lack of rules didn't give the players a clear understanding of what they could and couldn't do. Instead they relied upon me to 'adjudicate' - and I'm sure that in some instances they felt I may have been unfair. But what this did give us was a greater feel for the characters and the plot. The players really owned who they were and the world that they were in.

    At the moment I'm running Shadowrun and sticking as closely as I can to the rules (though not the background). I'd had a request for a greater level of character chance of death as some of my players felt that I was too easy on them and they didn't feel a sense of danger in encounters. Sticking to the combat rules makes it easy for me to kill off a character without being seen as arbitrary - I'm very careful to roll everything in the open and explain all adds/subtracts as I go. This helps them feel like their playing against the game as opposed to against me (it also helps that I don't cheer when the bad guys hurt them).

    Mind you the only character to have been 'killed off' was actually handed to a slave trader as the group felt the character was too dangerous to have around ;) . What I'm finding with the more focused 'roll' playing is that the game has become more strategic and tactical in nature and more focused on the combat (which is now taking a lot longer to complete - sometimes multiple sessions) than the plot. Oh the plot is still there but it doesn't consume the same ratio of time that it did in my more open game.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I can see the benefits of both types of games, I prefer one but injecting the other type is always good value and the real goal should be to achieve a balance that works for the group as a whole. At the end of the day the object is to have fun. I'll always lean towards the 'role' style of gameplay, but having a good mix of 'roll' in there can change up the gameplay and inject some spice as well.

    When this becomes a problem is when you have a player or players who prefer rules based play, in a game where the GM is rules light and story focused. And vice versa of course. I've been in a few of these and it really comes down to how the GM and to a lesser extent the rest of the players handle the situation. As I said before, the aim is to have fun, and there's the old adage of a plan never surviving first contact with the enemy. Its like that with a game as well. The GM needs to adapt the game to suit the players and the players need to adapt to suit the GM and other players. Its when one or the other becomes inflexible that the game becomes unpleasant and not worth playing. Great advice? If only I could stick to it myself ;)
     
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  5. Egil

    Egil Retired Captain

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    Role player, definitely.

    We do a lot of D20 Modern, mixed with lots of other stuff, and lots of resource material for inspiration. But we are definitely role-players.
    Comes with the drama geek territory, and all of us portrayed various characters for many years at Renaissance Faires.
     
  6. Lythe

    Lythe Getting Started

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    Wow! what a great question!

    I'd have to say I'm a bit of both, probably leaning a bit more to roll than role 60/40.

    I love to research and plan my characters development so that I don't end up gimped, playing a character I hate, but I also love to get into the feel of the character and role play.
     
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  7. cougar75

    cougar75 Getting Started

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    Gee Roll or Role playing.... as I rolling dice is a part of most RPGs (most) these two kinda gp hand in hand so I guess I do both although I prefer the Role playing side of my games.

    A bigger problem to my way of thinking is the stat keeping that can go into some games, I've seen DMs who expect you to have paper representations of scrolls and potions on your person when you turn up to play otherwise you can't use them also when swimming a river or on fire expect you to roll to see how much equipment you loose. Worse game for this IMO is Traveller where the game itself seems to attract people who know exactly how many nuts, screws and nails are in each jar in the she and when they bough them and what the weather was like. Apologies to all you Traveller fans out there but I'm sure you know what I mean, or maybe I've just been unlucky. Anyway although stats are important you need to know how hard you can squish Goblins or agents of Pentax you can take things to far and to my way of thinking this just slows down the game and leads to table talk which leads to Simpsons quotes, Conan quotes, singing the theme to Conan (the Barbarian and the Destroyer, someone deciding that they have to watch Conan now... as you can see the guys I role play with are easily distracted so a fast game concentrating on chest thumping and silly voices is your best plan as a GM.
     
  8. Lichbane

    Lichbane Well-Known Member

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    It depends on how I'm feeling actually.

    I remember circumventing an entire section of a mates intricately planned campaign because I sat down and have a chat with a crucial NPC. Ok so the dragon was nasty and angry and very pissed off ... but it didn't mean that I couldn't have "a good old fashioned dragon to halfling chat" and figure out a comprimise to the dilemma. ;)

    And on other occasions I just want to hit things and make them go ouch. :D
     
  9. Yrsa

    Yrsa Active Member

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    I resemble that remark :p

    Of course, considering I'm part of that "we" you're talking about, I guess that all makes a certain amount of sense.

    I was lucky enough to be spoon-fed by role players (notice the e ;)) when I first started playing - so it stuck. As for the drama geek/Renaissance Faire thing mentioned above - it's the chicken-and-the-egg for me... I'm just doomed to carry the "e" :cool:
     
  10. Zhul

    Zhul Retired Captain

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    I love both. I like to get into a character, think up his background, his motivation for adventuring, and so on - concentrating on "the fluff" of a character to make them fun to play. However, I also like tweaking "the crunch' of a character so I'm effective (but I don't do munchkining, that leads to no fun for everyone).
     
  11. bochaba

    bochaba Well-Known Member

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    I think MMOs have really scratched the itch when it comes to roll-playing. The amount of tweaking and analysis the player can do is quite high. They never argue with the DM over the rules because the game is the rules. God help the devs that patch a change the players dont like though. :) MMOs are easy to get into, cater to a lot of playstyles and are very attractive.

    Role-playing is where PnP can still have a place. MMOs must stictly limit the actions of characters and the story never changes. Everyone gets the same experience. In PnP the world reacts to the players and a good GM is needed to be able to alter the story as the characters progress.

    Unfortunately that's where many GMs come apart. They believe that they control the story and so there are many things a player may not do. (like kill the main quest giver -lol) A GM that can absorb erratic behaviour and continue the setting in a believable manner is a gem imo. When the "hero's" become the villians and the game continues with the GM introducing appropriate goals to suit the temperament of the group is an example of the best in PnP gaming.

    Ultimately when player decisions are more important than the outcomes, this is my favourite kind of RPG. If the only decision 90% of the time is "kill it"...count me out.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  12. Tawmis

    Tawmis Getting Started

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    Sadly MMOs I think have murdered PNP type games. There's still some out there who gather and play it - but a PBEM (Play By Email) game I was hosting and doing two turns weekly - began to fall apart when World of Warcraft came into everyone's life...
     
  13. Luthais

    Luthais Just Joined

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    I think it varies greatly from one group to another... Since I started gaming young, I definitely began as a "roll" player, though over the past 16 years of playing AD&D I have gravitated more towards "role" playing. Now, story and in-depth characters are really what I enjoy. Bring on those long, mulit-year epic campaigns!

    With that said, the best gaming group I was in could be classified as both. The DM (who is a video game designer now) would start up the session like normal, and within half an hour get a feel for the group's mood. If we were up to a more "role" playing atmosphere we would always take that route. But sometimes its hard to pull it all together, so we just broke down into "roll" playing. Seamless transition with a good DM.
     
  14. Uncle Guido

    Uncle Guido Getting Started

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    Depends who the GM is. I've played in campaigns where we just got fed teeming multitudes of orcs and other assorted minion type creatures and two weeks game time on the road from one place to another gets covered in 4 words - "OK, you get there". That was a bucket'o'dice game. At the same time, with the same group of players, I've GM'ed 6 hour sessions of WHFRP without a weapon ever being drawn. Most certainly role-player, me.
     
  15. Caro

    Caro Retired Captain

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    IMO, it depends on both the GM and the group you play with. I'm more of a role-player myself, but that doesn't mean I don't like the roll-playing part as well. It really depends on what is going on in a session. One night could be totally story driven, while the next you are just plainly trying to escape from the enemies clutch. I think what makes good group is one that can balance both aspects :D
     
  16. Ashin

    Ashin Retired Administrator

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    Agreed with Caro. I believe the game has to be balanced. A good story but there has to get some fun exciting times with combat and rolls of the dice. A good balance is whats needed in my games.

    I did play one time when the DM kept the character sheets and role played the leveling of a mage. You can't explain it but you can now cast another spell or two or get an inch to cast more difficult spells. No one knew who was stronger or who was more intellegent but it was fun watch the characters fight it out role play wise :)
    The mage was told after the adventure was up that he was tweo levels higher then he realized... made him mad but he laughed it off. Years down the road we still claim he was the least smartest of the group and the fighter was smarter then the mage.
     
  17. Caro

    Caro Retired Captain

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    I did play something similar where the DM kept the character sheet. All started based on the all to familiar plot device of the hero (me the player in this case) suffering from amnesia and waking up in a weird place. I had some basic ideas of what I was capable of, but that was all. Everything I wanted to do I had to be roleplayed and very descriptive. Ended up being one of the greatest adventure I ever did. The DM constructed such a story that it hit me like a rock when I finally discovered that I was a vampire.
     
  18. Justin Kace

    Justin Kace Retired Captain

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    I love TOG! I keep finding new and wonderful forums!!

    I'm really a role player at heart, but you need the impartiality of the dice to determine all the bits and pieces that cant reasonably be role-played.

    I particularly love fitting my mind into particularly interesting characters, even when it's not always in the party's best interests to do so. One of my favourite role play characters was a supremely able monk (named Yarsin Narsin-Varsin) who was an almost total pacifist. He would only fight to defend a life, and even then only ever to disable. He would attempt to mediate with ork ambushes and educate brigands on the evil on the way and was often disabling party members in an attempt to prevent aggression against our aggressors. It was all greatly amusing to me but I could see the other players were getting a bit miffed so I volunteered to sacrifice myself to hold back a particularly nasty critter while the party made their escape. So skilled was Yarsin that he was capable of completely fending off the monsters multitude of attacks almost indefinitely, so the party (not being serious roleplayers and not caring that they had no way of telling how the fight was going) returned and beat the creature to a pulp while it had it's attention focussed on
    him. Ahh well!

    One thing I really can't stand in roleplaying, is when players/DMs get too tied up in the rules. I think they should always be considered a guideline and should never get in the way of the enjoyment of the game. Some argue that you need to follow the rules to maintain balance in a game, and to that I would have to say if you need rules to prevent you abusing super powerful game mechanics then you are a powergamer, admit it and start attending powergamers anonymous sessions. :)
     
  19. Justin Kace

    Justin Kace Retired Captain

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    Oh mah lordy, my favourite rpg of all time, and you look to be a Melbournite as well!! Any room? Or do you know any other avid Shadowrunners who you could recommend me to? To me? Anything for a game of Shadowrun!!!
     
  20. Drac

    Drac Squad Officer

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    I once played a game similar to a tabletop war game except it came with no miniatures and you used the entire lounge room to play it. The game was contained in a single rule book and your army was simply your collection of teddy bears and toys. You'd flick though the rule book and it would have tables identifying different aspects of teddy bears and toys and based on things like size, fur or plastic, colour, wheels, transformable, animal type, number of limbs etc etc etc -- it would basically build character sheets for each teddy/toy then you'd battle it out. Bizzare, but good fun. One of the more memorable games I've played. And before you ask, yes, it had plenty of rules to accommodate robotech and transformers figures :D Can't remember the name of it though :(

    Although my fav pen and paper RPGs would have to be Paranoia and Amber, amber is a really good one if you get good people to play it (kinda need to read the novel first though), it's completely diceless - a true "role" playing game if there ever was one. Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009

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