Monday, April 24, 2006

RPG Pundit on stunting

I wanted to highlight this passage from the Pistols at Dawn extravaganza:

I've seen gamers try to create OtE characters where they pick a trait that is so broad it can apply to everything ("I have 4D in martial arts master/acrobat/strategist"), or take supposedly narrow traits and try to make them fit any situation ("I can use my 5D Football Champ trait to attack the thugs, right? Using my football training... oh, AND i can use my 5D football champ trait to beat the Chessmaster, because football has strategy that can also apply to chess").

To me, this is "Faking it". It creates situations where, by trying to encourage "roleplay" by giving positive bonuses to those who use their descriptors, it encourages people to try to stretch those descriptors to ridiculous limits.

Ditto with games that give bonuses for "descriptive stunting"; at that point every fucking action turns into a descriptive stunt ("I do a double backflip before sitting on the toilet to give me a +2D to taking a dump"; "I make an exaggerated courtsey when I meet Unimportant NPC x in case I have to get a bonus to my diplomacy check").

That's why Feng Shui has got it going on: there, you are ALLOWED to do any normal attack/action as a stunt, in a cool way and without penalty, as long as the end result not have a greater positive result than if you did it the normal way. For ex, instead of just saying "I run toward the guy and shoot him" you can say "I run three steps, jump onto the table sliding down off it shooting at the guy". Since the end result mechanically is the same ("Ok, roll to hit") there's no penalty for doing it acrobatically. Its "encouragement" in the sense of not fucking you over for giving your character a personal touch; rather than giving you a bonus for thinking up ways of dragging your personality into every little act.