Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Management and Role-playing II; Problems with Pure Evil Races

Continuing The use of the Art Critical Thinking in RPGs.

1. Making High-Stakes Decisions - This is the introduction to the lecture and poses to the listener how people decision and how there are techniques that improve on them. To the GM, it is how the players make decision and how to better predict them or play to their weaknesses.
2. Cognitive Biases - The list of cognitive biases, is like a list of traps. Players who are able to identify these, can spot certain traps. For the GM, his knowledge of these traps help him play to the problem solving tendencies of the player. This is where the real intellectual challenge which is fun can be found.
3. Avoiding Decision-Making Traps - The previous lecture allow for detect traps, this lecture is how to disarm SOME of them. Players might find this useful when brainstorming and interacting with each other (since the GM spreads the information among them, based on their varied perceptive capabilities).
4. Framing—Risk or Opportunity? - GMs will get a whole lot of fun out of this, as they carefully play around with the skill to confuse the player's as the best course of action. Ideally the GM's NPCs doesnt play it too thick.
For Players, this is useful when trying to reach a consensus with each other.
5. Intuition—Recognizing Patterns - Intuition: as a GURPS advantage versus what I learned in the lecture is very different and makes more sense. My new house rule, to reflect this powerful aspect of intelligence and its point cost is:
  • Intuition halves default penalties when using related skills (round down) (Ex, naturalist -2 instead of -3 for survival; Soldier -3 instead of -6 for Tactics).
  • Reduces raw default penalty by 1 (IQ-5 instead of IQ-6 for Artist)
  • Reduce margin of failure by 2, minimum of 1 with skills that are greater or equal to 12.
  • +3 bonus to highly ambiguous pattern recognition (ex. ciphering, cryptography, and some sci-fi point-defense gunnery where the gunner tries to predict fire patterns).


Objective Morality and Role Playing. Wow another Philosophical debate regarding how to play RPGs in the thread. My problem with objective morality, where the GM defines what is Good and Bad in a setting is that there is no room for free will. There is no room for choices, you will do what you are designed to do. So evil races are characterised as following the authorship of the world builder.

The funny thing about Objective Morality is that, it has no room for empathy. You cannot have the intelligence to understand choices when there really are no choices. Since there are no choices and empathy is useless: then what Role are you playing except that of a 1 dimensional automaton.

This becomes explicitly true in a deterministic setting. Another way to describe a deterministic setting is when the GM will always railroad you.

Purely Objective Morality breaks down very quickly and easily in the realm of RPG fantasy. Fantasy test all plausible limits already, the burden of this philosophy just raises more problems than it solves.

Complexity, despite how Ambiguous and Messy is better than ignoring the consequences of one's actions.
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