What does DM empowerment and Player entitlement mean to you?

Please answer the question in the title in as detailed a manner as possible.   Also if possible answer it as cleanly technical as you can.   Meaning avoid snarky attacks and gushing support.  

Then once you've answered the two questions feel free to comment further on how much of an element you like in YOUR games.   

Thanks.  I think to some degree this bears on the 5e design and will be useful raw data for the devs.  I am not saying they aren't already considering these things.  But a breakdown of varying ideas would I think be nice. 

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That's an excellent analysis of the outcomes Tony_Vargas.

I'd just like to point out that both of your paragraphs can be read to refer to the "4E experience"; interestingly you didn't specify which was which.

I guess if you're not familiar with 4e, they could be.  I think it should be /very/ obvious which was the most enjoyable, though:  Acrimonious debate, dissapointment, or glossing-over vs generating a memorable story moment.  (Though, if the boards are any indication, acrimonious debate has it's fans). 


Actually, though, those sorts of experiences /can/ happen in any game, the better outcomes were just a lot more likely in 4e  (and in systems like Hero or M:tA, that keep fluff/crunch independent to varying degrees) than in other eds of D&D (and other systems that leave fluff & crunch 'entangled'). 

Where 'entangled' systems can really shine, OTOH, is in evoking a very specific setting, mood, or sub-genre.  D&D has never done that, but, for those who have a particular affection for it, it does, in effect, shine at the tautological and automtically successful task of evoking itelf.

 

 

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It has been my (sad) experience that after a certain point - maybe the first 8 or 10 times - the players stop trying to invent reasons that their powers do things that seem counterintuitive and just say "Ok, whatever, it's prone. I guess I get a plus 2 on it.".

It's not that the game stops. It's just that they don't care as much because (and yes, I know it's an absurd term to use about a magic fantasy game but it's still true) their suspension of disbelief threshold is passed. And at that point, they aren't engaged as much anymore.

It's great that that has never happened to you, and I am super glad you found a game you enjoy so much. I just find it really frustrating that you can't seem to admit that it DOES happen to other people, and those people are not just reactionary stick-in-the-muds.
Am I the only one who has a group that says No when a power or ability makes no sense at all?
Having clear, consistent mechanical effects and mutable flavor emphasizes the prime importance of story, and emphasizes the tools as mere tools to get there.


No it really doesn't. Having immutable rules that trump common sense emphasizes the importance of using the rules.

Heh.  It's an heroic fantasy game.  Using "common sense" takes you /out/ of the heroic fantasy aspect.  Engaging your imagination keeps you there.


 4e let the rules resolve the mechanical side, and left what that resolution meant in the story open to the imagination.


Only the resolutions that are produced end up being nonsensical a lot of the time.

Only if you want them to be.

Master: "Hey I got this really great technique that'll help in fighting the orcs and hobgoblins by taking out their legs?" 
Fighter: "Screw you, I only want to learn something that'll work on green slime, the Tarrasque and incorporeal monsters all at once. No sense practicing these great moves just on creatures with legs." 
Master: "Well I also have this power that twists causality to make the enemy prone regardless of what it is...

Cute Strawman.  What you're demonstrating there is willfully picking the worst possible way of imagining (the acquisition of) an exploit.  Here's an alternative.

Master: "Hey I got this really great technique that'll help in fighting the orcs and hobgoblins by taking out their legs?"
Fighter: "But, what about all the Gelatinous Cubes and other crazy things we get down here in the underdark?  Some of the walk on the cieling, some of them don't even have legs!"
Master: "You have to learn to adapt to things like that, I will teach you the needed variations, but you will have to develop the knowledge of yourself and your enemies to aply them.  I've been battling such things since before you born and I'm still here, so it can be done - but it won't be easy." 
Fighter: "Thank you master, when do we begi-"  ::THUMP!::
Master: "Right now!  First lesson:  keep your own footing..."



 

 

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You can't do things that don't make sense. Unless magic. Because magic. Anything else that doesn't make sense isn't allowed. Because it doesn't make sense.

Or

You do whatever you want, but make it as awesome as possible.

--I find the sense arguments punishing certain classes while favoring others. And I had less fun making sense than I had being awesome.
It depends on what you are trying to accomplish and what the consequences are.  A 30% chance of failing and falling your death would be difficult.  A 70% chance of success at making a paper airplaine would be considered to be easy.  At worst it would take you a few minutes and you might have to try a couple of times.  That's pretty easy to do.



FTR, I don't have save or die falls in my games anyway.  Especially a surface like a cliff has protrusions, roots and branches sticking out.  It may not be as deep as it first appears.  There is always a chance to recover from what looks like certain death, but death is always a threat.  If someone is jumping a virtually bottomless chasm, no matter how easy the task, death should be be an acceptible outcome because failure is always possible.  Have a problem with that?  Don't make the attempt.



I don't have a problem with it so long as the player knows that death is a possibility and has an idea of what "difficult" means to you.  It doesn't have to be an exact number, but they should be able to ballpark their chances of success.
I sort of like Knowing how difficult a task is when I come to it. For example, saying "Jumping over the chasm is difficult" I'm going to respond with "How difficult?" and then look to see where my Strength score is. Is it difficult for a normal person with Str 10 or how about someone like Conan with a Strength of 20?



For my games, when I say something is easy, difficult, hard, etc., I'm talking about for their PC.  Usually, nobody cares what a normal person can do in such situations.
Question: Have you ever played in or run a 4E game where everyone at the table just kind of stopped when a power was used in a way that made absolutely no narrative sense, and to everyone there it was glaringly obvious that it shouldn't work or should work differently? Where cognitive dissonance just pulled everyone out of the movie in their head?



Yes.

Yes I have.

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Am I the only one who has a group that says No when a power or ability makes no sense at all?



I've never seen it happen.
Knowing the game's math does not mean throwing immersion under the bus.



It's called meta-gaming, pure and simple.



So anyone that picks a handgun based on it's balistics in real life is metagaming?



PCs don't have access to that sort of information......unless playing a modern/future game.

[qupte]The point is that characters in character will often have good information about how easy or hard a task is (if only intuitively) that sometimes is difficult to express to the player except numerically.

-Polaris


The character's "good information" will be that it is easy, hard, impossible, etc.
Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.


When difficult could mean anything from a minor penalty to near impossible, the issue isn't with the listener's language skills.



No it can't.  Near impossible would be told the player as being near impossible, not difficult and a minor penalty would said to be easy or moderate or some such, not difficult.  Giving two examples of things that are clearly not "difficult" is not going to win you any points here.

   
Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.



Metagaming is by definition, bad.  It's your PC acting on knowledge that the PC simply doesn't have.  That's never a good thing.
Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.



Metagaming is by definition, bad.  It's your PC acting on knowledge that the PC simply doesn't have.  That's never a good thing.

If you think Actor Stance is the only valid way to roleplay, then sure.
Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.



Metagaming is by definition, bad.  It's your PC acting on knowledge that the PC simply doesn't have.  That's never a good thing.

If you think Actor Stance is the only valid way to roleplay, then sure.


Metagaming is not a valid way of roleplaying, 
Metagaming is precisely NOT roleplaying.

from Wikipedia:
"Metagaming is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself.

In simple terms, it is the use of out-of-game information or resources to affect one's in-game decisions."


It's as close to cheating as it gets without fudging your own dices or editing your character sheet. 


 
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Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.



Metagaming is by definition, bad.  It's your PC acting on knowledge that the PC simply doesn't have.  That's never a good thing.

If you think Actor Stance is the only valid way to roleplay, then sure.


Metagaming is not a valid way of roleplaying, 
Metagaming is precisely NOT roleplaying.

from Wikipedia:
"Metagaming is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself.

In simple terms, it is the use of out-of-game information or resources to affect one's in-game decisions."


It's as close to cheating as it gets without fudging your own dices or editing your character sheet. 


 



I disagree.  If the player is having fun along with the rest of the group, then I fail to see why this is bad.  Not everyone gets into the depts of the character like you (or for that matter I) do.  That doesn't make them bad players.  Now, I DO tell my players that if they make decisions based on information their characters can't have, that I would be calling shenanigans, but I think there are many ways to play DND.

-Polaris

Edit:  In truth it's a matter of stances, and I refuse to believe that one stance (actor's stance) is inherently superior to other stances (such as the narrative stance, or even the authorial stance).  In fact IMX most players will shift from one to the other frequently in any given session.  I do thing that the wiki definition of metagaming is overly broad.  I would say it only constitutes 'cheating' if your character is using knowledge that his character couldn't possibly have specifically aid that character in an authorial stance scene. 
Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.



Metagaming is by definition, bad.  It's your PC acting on knowledge that the PC simply doesn't have.  That's never a good thing.



No, it isn't.  As a prime example, "There's a new PC, let's let him into the group without spending two hours shadowboxing about it" is good, because it keeps the game going.
Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.



Metagaming is by definition, bad.  It's your PC acting on knowledge that the PC simply doesn't have.  That's never a good thing.

If you think Actor Stance is the only valid way to roleplay, then sure.



Nice false dichotomy.  Those are not the only two ways to view things.  I can take a non-actor stance and still feel that a PC instantly pulling out a mirror against a Medusa, despite never even hearing of one, is bad.  It's worse than bad.  It's flat out cheating.
Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.



Metagaming is by definition, bad.  It's your PC acting on knowledge that the PC simply doesn't have.  That's never a good thing.

If you think Actor Stance is the only valid way to roleplay, then sure.


Metagaming is not a valid way of roleplaying, 
Metagaming is precisely NOT roleplaying.

from Wikipedia:
"Metagaming is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself.

In simple terms, it is the use of out-of-game information or resources to affect one's in-game decisions."


It's as close to cheating as it gets without fudging your own dices or editing your character sheet. 


 



I disagree.  If the player is having fun along with the rest of the group, then I fail to see why this is bad.  Not everyone gets into the depts of the character like you (or for that matter I) do.  That doesn't make them bad players.  Now, I DO tell my players that if they make decisions based on information their characters can't have, that I would be calling shenanigans, but I think there are many ways to play DND.

-Polaris


Metagaming has absolutely nothing to do with roleplaying whatsoever... I have no clue where you got that idea. 
I don't especialy like to get into the depth of the characters for that matter. Hell, I once played a character to level 3 before bothering to find him a name.


What you call shenanigans is metagaming. along with things like "the monster behind that door can't realy be XXX because the DM hasn't bought the book it's from yet"
Or "We make camp, and I prepare remove paralysis the next morning" right after getting a glimps of the monster behind the DM's screen while getting up to go to the bathroom.

Though, if everyone is still having fun, I guess it's fine. I just don't like cheaters. 
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Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.



Metagaming is by definition, bad.  It's your PC acting on knowledge that the PC simply doesn't have.  That's never a good thing.

If you think Actor Stance is the only valid way to roleplay, then sure.


Metagaming is not a valid way of roleplaying, 
Metagaming is precisely NOT roleplaying.

from Wikipedia:
"Metagaming is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself.

In simple terms, it is the use of out-of-game information or resources to affect one's in-game decisions."


It's as close to cheating as it gets without fudging your own dices or editing your character sheet. 


 



I disagree.  If the player is having fun along with the rest of the group, then I fail to see why this is bad.



Oh, well then I guess it's okay to just put my PC at level 20 then.  After all, I'm entitled to have fun.  Then I'll just write in any magic item I think is fun......since I'm having fun.  After that I'll just raise all my stats to 20, no, 24.  Screw the rules.  I'm having fun!  After all, if you're okay with metagame cheating, none of that should be a bother, either.


Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.



Metagaming is by definition, bad.  It's your PC acting on knowledge that the PC simply doesn't have.  That's never a good thing.



No, it isn't.  As a prime example, "There's a new PC, let's let him into the group without spending two hours shadowboxing about it" is good, because it keeps the game going.



It doesn't take 2 hours.  It takes 5 minutes or less, and you don't need to metagame to do it.
Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.



Metagaming is by definition, bad.  It's your PC acting on knowledge that the PC simply doesn't have.  That's never a good thing.

If you think Actor Stance is the only valid way to roleplay, then sure.



Nice false dichotomy.  Those are not the only two ways to view things.  I can take a non-actor stance and still feel that a PC instantly pulling out a mirror against a Medusa, despite never even hearing of one, is bad.  It's worse than bad.  It's flat out cheating.



And that's bad metagaming.
But not all metagaming is bad.  It can be used to keep a game running smoothly and enhace it, or it can slow a game down and damage it.
Just depends on exactly what you're doing and why.

Oh, well then I guess it's okay to just put my PC at level 20 then.  After all, I'm entitled to have fun.  Then I'll just write in any magic item I think is fun......since I'm having fun.  After that I'll just raise all my stats to 20, no, 24.  Screw the rules.  I'm having fun!  After all, if you're okay with metagame cheating, none of that should be a bother, either.



If that's the game that ALL of you agree to (your fellow players and DMs) then what does it matter?  Ultimately the entire point is to have fun.  I wouldn't take much stock in such a game for these boards since it clearly would be distinct to that one table and it's participants, but that doesn't mean they are playing it wrong.  If everyone has fun, then they are playing it right.

-Polaris

Edit:  EVERYONE is entitled to have fun (not just you).  If a person can't have fun except at the expense of others, I will (and have) kick such peple from the group. 
Ah, the classic Reductio ad absurdum.  Solid evidence that you don't have an argument.

Ta-ta.
No, it isn't.  As a prime example, "There's a new PC, let's let him into the group without spending two hours shadowboxing about it" is good, because it keeps the game going.

It doesn't take 2 hours.  It takes 5 minutes or less, and you don't need to metagame to do it.



If it's only taking you 5 minutes or less, you're metagaming it.

Seriously, you're the fantasy world equivalent of a special forces team, and you're only taking 5 minutes to vet this guy you've just met and be ready to trust him in the kind of life or death situations you regularly face, when you don't really have any reason to trust he's both competant and not secretly a spy or assassin sent to kill you.
Maybe if your DM really hates metagaming, one of these times he'll get the player in on it and they will be an assassin sent to kill you, and murder your party as soon as you let your guard down (or maybe in the middle of the boss fight. Oops, that new rogue just murdered your cleric. Guess it'll be a tpk).

Or maybe you can just metagame the fact that you know it's another PC, and so you go ahead and accept him and it all works out great, because it's another PC and not some assassin out to kill you (or incompetant that will be a massive liability). And from there trim the hours of vetting down to five minutes. Maybe you can keep a playful air of distrust if it's narratively fitting.      
Just because it's metagaming doesn't mean it's bad.



Metagaming is by definition, bad.  It's your PC acting on knowledge that the PC simply doesn't have.  That's never a good thing.

If you think Actor Stance is the only valid way to roleplay, then sure.



Nice false dichotomy.  Those are not the only two ways to view things.  I can take a non-actor stance and still feel that a PC instantly pulling out a mirror against a Medusa, despite never even hearing of one, is bad.  It's worse than bad.  It's flat out cheating.



And that's bad metagaming.
But not all metagaming is bad.  It can be used to keep a game running smoothly and enhace it, or it can slow a game down and damage it.
Just depends on exactly what you're doing and why.


I guess your point sort of makes sense when used that way, as long as the metagaming is used to help the game along and not used to further your own personal goals at the expense of the feel of the game, the chalenge or the other players.

I just never used the word Metagaming to describe those things. 
"Come with me friends, I have an overwhelmig urge to go to the nearest Inn and meet a couple of strangers who will help us on our quest!"
"What? so soon after our two friends died?"

 
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You can't do things that don't make sense. Unless magic. Because magic. Anything else that doesn't make sense isn't allowed. Because it doesn't make sense. Or You do whatever you want, but make it as awesome as possible. --I find the sense arguments punishing certain classes while favoring others. And I had less fun making sense than I had being awesome.



Just because a game is nonsensical and isn't concnered about the story doesn't mean it can't be fun. Chess or Magic: the Gathering are fun even if you don't care at all about the story.

I would however argue that it's no longer really much of an RPG if you're no longer creating a coherent story. It still may well be a fun game, but it's no longer about role-playing. I realize some people are okay with that.



If it's only taking you 5 minutes or less, you're metagaming it.

Seriously, you're the fantasy world equivalent of a special forces team, and you're only taking 5 minutes to vet this guy you've just met and be ready to trust him in the kind of life or death situations you regularly face, when you don't really have any reason to trust he's both competant and not secretly a spy or assassin sent to kill you.



This is not really true.  While PCs are exceptional in skill, they are rarely a special forces team and act that way.  Only specific "special forces" campaigns do that.  It's perfectly acceptable to bring the guy along and see how he performs in action, or bring him along for a whole host of other reasons from same race as a member of the party to being a cousin.  

  




If it's only taking you 5 minutes or less, you're metagaming it.

Seriously, you're the fantasy world equivalent of a special forces team, and you're only taking 5 minutes to vet this guy you've just met and be ready to trust him in the kind of life or death situations you regularly face, when you don't really have any reason to trust he's both competant and not secretly a spy or assassin sent to kill you.



This is not really true.  While PCs are exceptional in skill, they are rarely a special forces team and act that way.  Only specific "special forces" campaigns do that.  It's perfectly acceptable to bring the guy along and see how he performs in action, or bring him along for a whole host of other reasons from same race as a member of the party to being a cousin.  



Your PC just happens to be a never-before-mentioned cousin of another PC, but that's not metagamey at all. >_>
And also only justifies 5 minutes of discussion as you meet your cousin in a totally unexpected place, and learn that he has taken up an adventuring career since you last heard of him, and so on..

I'm not saying there is never, under any circumstances a valid 5 minute intro that justifies such trust coming out of nowhere, but I think the reality is the common experience is to just run with it and not worry too much. Even though you're in a reality where doppelganger assassins are a thing, probably have enemies willing and able to hire anything from mundane sellswords to demonic shapeshifters to kill you, and are in a line of work where fighting to the death against overwhelming, often supernatural enemies is typical.. .
really spending two hours of your game time to vet the new PC is more often an annoying distraction than a good time. (And if it is your groups idea of a good time, I certainly have no reason to stop you. :P)     
Faramir... we just lost Borromir... what are you doing here.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 



If it's only taking you 5 minutes or less, you're metagaming it.

Seriously, you're the fantasy world equivalent of a special forces team, and you're only taking 5 minutes to vet this guy you've just met and be ready to trust him in the kind of life or death situations you regularly face, when you don't really have any reason to trust he's both competant and not secretly a spy or assassin sent to kill you.



This is not really true.  While PCs are exceptional in skill, they are rarely a special forces team and act that way.  Only specific "special forces" campaigns do that.  It's perfectly acceptable to bring the guy along and see how he performs in action, or bring him along for a whole host of other reasons from same race as a member of the party to being a cousin.  



Your PC just happens to be a never-before-mentioned cousin of another PC, but that's not metagamey at all. >_>



Not in the slightest.  All relatives are not forced to be in the back story of a given PC.
 
And also only justifies 5 minutes of discussion as you meet your cousin in a totally unexpected place, and learn that he has taken up an adventuring career since you last heard of him, and so on..

Even though you're in a reality where doppelganger assassins are a thing, probably have enemies willing and able to hire anything from mundane sellswords to demonic shapeshifters to kill you, and are in a line of work where fighting to the death against overwhelming, often supernatural enemies is typical.. .



Such creatures like dopplegangers are extraordinarily rare.  Rare to the point of not being worth worrying about if you have never met one before.  Supernatural enemies won't often look like a companion. 

   

What is the most metagamey thing:

Welcoming your cousin into your party?
or
Reasoning that he might be a doppleganger ? 

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Metagaming isn't like the MOST ULTIMATE EVIL of TTRPGs or anything. It's just something that's usually bad in most circumstances - but it's bad because it often makes things less fun over the short term or the long term, not because it's some intrinsic evil. I feel like it's important to recognize and remember why metagaming is usually considered bad, rather than treating anything that can be framed as metagaming as automatically awful. Metagaming doesn't have the [Evil] descriptor attached to it. It's not cosmically evil by fiat. It's bad because it usually makes people have a less good time in the short-term or long-term. Where that's not the case, it's not actually bad. It feels like people learned that metagaming is bad (as it often is), and are now eager to apply the label to anything in order to condemn it without sparing a thought cycle to evaluate if the metagaming is actually doing any harm. Additionally, it's not like metagaming is the sin that overrides all other sins. It's very frequently the case that light metagaming makes for a much better game in the long run. For example, "keeping the party generally together more than might strictly make sense because everyone knows that splitting the party (especially over long periods) is often bad times" is metagaming, but it's good metagaming. It's recognizing what will be the most fun and making in-game decisions based at least partially on that.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Metagaming isn't like the MOST ULTIMATE EVIL of TTRPGs or anything. It's just something that's usually bad in most circumstances - but it's bad because it often makes things less fun over the short term or the long term, not because it's some intrinsic evil. I feel like it's important to recognize and remember why metagaming is usually considered bad, rather than treating anything that can be framed as metagaming as automatically awful. Metagaming doesn't have the [Evil] descriptor attached to it. It's not cosmically evil by fiat. It's bad because it usually makes people have a less good time in the short-term or long-term. Where that's not the case, it's not actually bad. It feels like people learned that metagaming is bad (as it often is), and are now eager to apply the label to anything in order to condemn it without sparing a thought cycle to evaluate if the metagaming is actually doing any harm. Additionally, it's not like metagaming is the sin that overrides all other sins. It's very frequently the case that light metagaming makes for a much better game in the long run. For example, "keeping the party generally together more than might strictly make sense because everyone knows that splitting the party (especially over long periods) is often bad times" is metagaming, but it's good metagaming. It's recognizing what will be the most fun and making in-game decisions based at least partially on that.


I agree
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I would however argue that it's no longer really much of an RPG if you're no longer creating a coherent story. It still may well be a fun game, but it's no longer about role-playing. I realize some people are okay with that.

The only RPGs I've seen just fail to create a coherent story were:  Basic D&D, AD&D (1e), DragonQuest, RuneQuest, Space Opera, Top Secret, Star Frontiers and GURPS - and, I suspect that's because of the groups I saw playing them, particularly the GMs in question, not the games, themselves.  I've never seen modern D&D have an issue with creating a coherent story.  Occassionaly, less talented optimizers will have trouble coming up with a coherent backstory, but that's about it.

 

 

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Tony_Vargas

Question: Have you ever played in or run a 4E game where everyone at the table just kind of stopped when a power was used in a way that made absolutely no narrative sense, and to everyone there it was glaringly obvious that it shouldn't work or should work differently? Where cognitive dissonance just pulled everyone out of the movie in their head?


I know this wasn't directed at me, but I can't say I've ever had this, and I'm currently playing a Vryloka(Vampire) Blackguard in a strictly no-magic sci-fi campaign and not once have I been able to use something I haven't been able to justify narratively.
Tony_Vargas

Question: Have you ever played in or run a 4E game where everyone at the table just kind of stopped when a power was used in a way that made absolutely no narrative sense, and to everyone there it was glaringly obvious that it shouldn't work or should work differently? Where cognitive dissonance just pulled everyone out of the movie in their head?


I know this wasn't directed at me, but I can't say I've ever had this, and I'm currently playing a Vryloka(Vampire) Blackguard in a strictly no-magic sci-fi campaign and not once have I been able to use something I haven't been able to justify narratively.

no-magic/sci-fi?  You mean magic re-skinned as sci-fi bits?

 

 

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I would however argue that it's no longer really much of an RPG if you're no longer creating a coherent story. It still may well be a fun game, but it's no longer about role-playing. I realize some people are okay with that.

The only RPGs I've seen just fail to create a coherent story were:  Basic D&D, AD&D (1e), DragonQuest, RuneQuest, Space Opera, Top Secret, Star Frontiers and GURPS - and, I suspect that's because of the groups I saw playing them, particularly the GMs in question, not the games, themselves.  I've never seen modern D&D have an issue with creating a coherent story.  Occassionaly, less talented optimizers will have trouble coming up with a coherent backstory, but that's about it.



I suspect that's simply an issue with gaming style.

Your group is happier with a wargame style, and mine is happier with focusing on the characters/plot more so than the combat.
I would however argue that it's no longer really much of an RPG if you're no longer creating a coherent story. It still may well be a fun game, but it's no longer about role-playing. I realize some people are okay with that.

The only RPGs I've seen just fail to create a coherent story were:  Basic D&D, AD&D (1e), DragonQuest, RuneQuest, Space Opera, Top Secret, Star Frontiers and GURPS - and, I suspect that's because of the groups I saw playing them, particularly the GMs in question, not the games, themselves.  I've never seen modern D&D have an issue with creating a coherent story.  Occassionaly, less talented optimizers will have trouble coming up with a coherent backstory, but that's about it.

I suspect that's simply an issue with gaming style.

In those specific cases it was more often a matter of maturity, I think.  I played some of those games when still pretty young.  In others, sure, style.  The guy who ran GURPS was just convoluted in his thinking.  His idea of an 'obvious clue' would have us wasting a whole session.  There may have been a coherent story in his head, but I don't think we ever saw much of it.  It never had much of anything to do with the system - well, maybe Space Opera:  I remember feeling like the system was getting in the way of, well, just playing the game at all, really.  

Your group is happier with a wargame style, and mine is happier with focusing on the characters/plot more so than the combat.

Nope, wrong again, I'm afraid.  As convenient as it might be to your worldview to look down on me as some sort of inveterate tactical gamer, that's not case.  The Paragon campaign I'm currently in has been running much more RP than combat, and it's a blast.  The combats are fun too, but their a minority of the play time.  It's a very story oriented game, run by a DM who loved Storyteller and ran it for years in the 90s.  

Bottom line:  if you're not creating a coherent story, it's because you don't really want to, not because of the system.  And, certainly not because the system is balanced & playable.

 

 

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This is an answer to the OP. I'm pointedly not reading the rest of the thread because the OP did not define the terms, and I believe that to be on purpose.

DM Empowerment: The perogative of the DM to make changes to the core rules in order to suit campaign themes or setting. 

Player Entitlement: The world "Entitlement" has a negative conotation to it. We consider people living on the public dole and spoiled children as "entitled". In this context, player entitlement is an attitude that leads to negative reaction toward a DM employing his empowerment to impose restrictions the player sees as unreasonable or, more to the point, contrary to his own desires.

Placed into the greater forum-wide debate, DM Empowerment is releasing core rules in which the Paladin is restricted to lawful good alignment... a restriction which the DM may ease if he sees fit. The DM, through the more restrictive core rule, is able to adjust the rule to his liking without incurring Player Entitlement because the core assumption allows him to ease it rather than add restriction. The perception shifts from "tyrant DM" to "generous DM".

In other words, greater rules restriction provides the DM with greater flexibility (empowerment), while less restrictive rules lead to greater player choice. Greater player choice can lead to conflict between player and DM in response to setting or theme related restrictions that do not exist in the core rules.

The other side of the coin is that restricting everything leads to an unappealing game from both perspectives. The restrictions shackle the player's imagination and overburden the DM with the need to relieve those shackles somehow. In the case of the Paladin, perhaps leaving the LG restriction in place is the best policy in favor of DM Empowerment, but at what point does this go too far? Wizards are clearly studious types who spend a lot of time buried in tomes, maybe they should be restricted to lawful alignments? Are halflings really capable of being effective fighters, maybe they should be restricted. It's a valid form of the slippery slope argument... at what point do you stop?

One of the hardest parts of the game designer's job because there is no perfect answer, only a myriad of opinions that run the spectrum.
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