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Author Topic: A tiny little SA problem...  (Read 7712 times)
Mokkurkalfe
Member

Posts: 340


« on: June 26, 2002, 01:20:29 PM »

I got a problem here. You see, one of my players doesn't seem to be very fond of the SAs. He really doesn't care about them and is more concerned about wich weapons to choose. He simply doesn't care that much about character background and personality. This creates some serious problems in tRoS, since the SA's are crucial to character improvement.
He says he can't think of any background. Besides, the characters are almost always the same(some warriorish kinda guy*).
What can I do to change him? SHOULD I change him at all?

* = One a side note, since tRoS don't have classes it lends itself much better to rag-tag bands of adventurers than D&D, wich gives (me at least) more of a military-squad-feeling with one medic(cleric), one scout(thief), one support-guy(mage) and some grunts(fighters, paladins and rangers)
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Joakim (with a k!) Israelsson
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2002, 02:04:06 PM »

Hello,

Well you have several options.

A) It just sounds like Riddle of Steel isn't his cup of tea and maybe it's best to just leave it at that.  Tell him you're sorry that the game doesn't appeal to him and wish him luck in finding players that are more suited to his personal style.  This is probably the best option.

B) Create a character FOR him.  Think about a character you think he might be able to get into, explain the character carefully, drawing particular attention to the SAs and see where he goes with it.

C) Liitterally steal a character from fiction.  Ask him to think of a character from a book, TV Show or Movie that both fits the setting and appelas to him.  Then simply write down the same SAs that paricular character would have had given what you know from the source work of fiction.

Just some ideas.

Jesse
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2002, 02:04:13 PM »

Hmmmm...

Sounds like you may have a player with a case of "My Guy Syndrome". This is a dysfunctional style of play where the player (often having been abused in other games) refuses to engage on anything but the most superficial level.

Here's a quick diagnostic. Does he ever do things that are tactically unsound or mess up the stroyline, or just seem unrealistic, and then claim, "Hey, it's what My Guy would do."? In other words does he hide behind the sanctity of his character to avoid lots of situations that you put out there? If so then you have may have a My Guy player.

If instead the player simply plays tactically, intent on the challenges or winning, and just doesn't seem interested in the story or much in playing the character in genre, then you may just have a player with a strong preference for Gamism.

In either case, the problems with play incompatibility are large here. There are a few options, but they all have problems associated. Fortunately, you have an ally, however, the rules.

Option one is to try and change the player. This is often difficult if not impossible, and may even cause hard feelings if not handled extremely carefully. However, in this case the rules do say that SAs are a required part of the character. Point out that it isn't some add-on rule, that it's central to the game. Once he play's with it for a while he might find that he likes it. Just don't hold your breath, players usually have a fairly good idea before hand about what they'll like, and again might resent being forced.

The second option is to play around the player. Try as best you can to cater to his Gamism, or to engage him despite his reticence. This is often grating to the other participants, however, and a hard on the GM. And TROS might just fall flat without him using the SAs actively (he certianly is more likely to die).

The last option is to tell the player that TROS is not a game for him. Play something else with this player, or don't play with him at all. Harsh, but sometimes better than the other two options, actually.

Like I said, all these options have downsides, but if there are others, I've yet to see them. It's up to you to pick the right one for the situation.

Mike
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Brian Leybourne
Member

Posts: 1793


« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2002, 02:18:41 PM »

Quote from: jburneko
C) Liitterally steal a character from fiction.  Ask him to think of a character from a book, TV Show or Movie that both fits the setting and appelas to him.  Then simply write down the same SAs that paricular character would have had given what you know from the source work of fiction.


As an example of this very thing, here's some SA's for Conan the Barbarian (a "mindless" grunting fighter if I ever saw one) that I knocked up for my players as an example of SA picking...

Conscience: Well, no, not really, although he only kills bad guys
Destiny: To wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow
Drive: To find his fathers sword
Faith: Crom
Luck: Most characters should have Luck as an SA
Passion: Hatred Thulsa Doom
Passion: Love Valeria (the blonde chick)

Show him that (or somethimg similar), it might get him thinking.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2002, 06:33:36 PM »

Hey,

My advice is to kill his character.

Yup, totally. Let me explain. Jake once described the TROS system as "natural selection," in that people who could not process the need to play SAs effectively would find that their characters die in combat. When the other guy has 15-25 dice firing in his favor, and you don't, Wound Levels of 5 tend to crop up. "Cerebellum destroyed. Really, really messy." That's just one example and a glance at the Wound tables in the back will yield many more.

So to clarify, just play the game, without tweaking things against him in any way. Enjoy it. Use the rules as written. Demonstrate in multiple instances how 15-25 more dice do (shock!) make for a more effective character. Play lots of combats.

The player will change or he will stop playing, with no need for you to tweak things or to circumscribe his character's actions for him, or anything else intrusive. Seems reasonable to me.

Best,
Ron
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Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2002, 09:58:16 PM »

Don't forget the basic Pavlovian treatment; Give everybody their SA rewards on the spot, as they do it, and also encourage them to raise their skills/stats/pools in game.  The problem player will start to notice people improving as they play, and say, "How come I'm not getting any dice?"  "What's your SA's?"  
"I don't know...um"
"Exactly..."

Chris
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Mokkurkalfe
Member

Posts: 340


« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2002, 04:20:25 AM »

Jesse
That B alternative is a good one. I think he is a decent roleplayer if he gets something to work with. He just can't find the stuff out.
He really likes the rest of tRoS, so he wouldn't like A.

Mike
He is often quite involved and take the lead sometimes, so no My Guy here. The Gamism fits him pretty well though. When he first made his character he asked at one point "Wich attribute is the best?". I was almost shocked; he has been playing long enough to know that there is now "best" attribute in RPG's.
He plays himself and makes logical, tactical decisions.

Ron
I'll try that. It'll give him lots of chances to make characters with good SA. :-)
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Joakim (with a k!) Israelsson
Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2002, 12:40:45 PM »

Quote
When he first made his character he asked at one point "Wich attribute is the best?". I was almost shocked; he has been playing long enough to know that there is now "best" attribute in RPG's.


::quirks a brow in disbelief:: You're kidding, right? Dependent on what you want to do in a game, there is almost *always* a best attribute. For anything combat based in TRoS, you will want a moderately high AG. TRoS does a good job of encouraging you to have fairly even stats by making everything important (except, as usual, Soc... But I've yet to see a game which can make a hardcore combat monster shunt some much-coveted attribute points into a Social Attribute.)
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Jake Norwood
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Posts: 2261


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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2002, 12:45:53 PM »

[quote = "Wolfen"]But I've yet to see a game which can make a hardcore combat monster shunt some much-coveted attribute points into a Social Attribute.)[/quote]

I disagree. It's really more of a play-style thing. In L5R, social is uber-important, assuming you're running a traditional japanese-esque style game. The same is true for any game that you spend a lot of time trying not to get into a fight (such as the way many folks play riddle). It's really an issue of play style and goals.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Mokkurkalfe
Member

Posts: 340


« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2002, 01:07:32 PM »

Quote from: Wolfen
Quote
When he first made his character he asked at one point "Wich attribute is the best?". I was almost shocked; he has been playing long enough to know that there is now "best" attribute in RPG's.


::quirks a brow in disbelief:: You're kidding, right? Dependent on what you want to do in a game, there is almost *always* a best attribute. For anything combat based in TRoS, you will want a moderately high AG. TRoS does a good job of encouraging you to have fairly even stats by making everything important (except, as usual, Soc... But I've yet to see a game which can make a hardcore combat monster shunt some much-coveted attribute points into a Social Attribute.)


Dependent on what you want to do, there is a best attribute, yes.
When it is NOT dependent on what you want to do in a game(wich it wasn't in this case), there is no best attribute. It is all a matter of preferred style of play.
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Joakim (with a k!) Israelsson
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2002, 01:41:15 PM »

Yes it all depends on style of play. In the case in point, however, Lance is right. The player wants to be a combat monster from the description, so there is a best stat for his desired play style. Despite that, however, it does indicate what he poster was trying to say, that the player exhibits a strong preference for Gamism. He wants the best stat so he can do better than most.

In which case, Ron's strategy should show him the light quick. The response to the question of best stat should have been SAs. That would make the point.

The only question is, once he starts to accept that SAs are important, will he think the game sucks for having to play that aspect of it (which he apparently does not like). You can try to convice him of how neat they are with Brian's Conan example and the like. But again, as Ron points out, he will either change his mind or quit. Problem solved. The rules are on your side here, M.

I think this may be another TROS first, the only game system that I know of where killing off a character can actually promote good role-playing.

Mike
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Bob Richter
Member

Posts: 324


« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2002, 10:03:59 PM »

Quote from: Mokkurkalfe
I got a problem here. You see, one of my players doesn't seem to be very fond of the SAs. He really doesn't care about them and is more concerned about wich weapons to choose. He simply doesn't care that much about character background and personality. This creates some serious problems in tRoS, since the SA's are crucial to character improvement.
He says he can't think of any background. Besides, the characters are almost always the same(some warriorish kinda guy*).
What can I do to change him? SHOULD I change him at all?

* = One a side note, since tRoS don't have classes it lends itself much better to rag-tag bands of adventurers than D&D, wich gives (me at least) more of a military-squad-feeling with one medic(cleric), one scout(thief), one support-guy(mage) and some grunts(fighters, paladins and rangers)


Don't beat him over the head, it's never good practice. Have him take a look at the Luck, Conscience, and Faith SAs. They're all fairly simple and something even a lifetime DnDer can understand.

They don't really require him to "get into" his character...and he will be justly rewarded for it.

The truth honestly may be that he CAN'T think of a good character background. I had a lot of trouble with it at first, as will anyone without a basic familiarity with Weyrth. (I tell my players: "It's just like late medieval Earth. Make up a background for that and I'll translate it into Weyrthese.")

You might also try getting him to make himself, pondering what his own SAs are. This should give him a better feel for them.
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So ye wanna go earnin' yer keep with yer sword, and ye think that it can't be too hard...
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