Update to the Stormwind Fallacy

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Here is the final argument (version 8, page 33). Please note that it is not a pejorative one.

A is the set of every legal build in D&D
B is the set of every optimised legal build in D&D
C is the set of every unoptimised legal build in D&D
D is the set of all B that can be roleplayed and all C that can be roleplayed.

Unless C is empty, or no build contained in C can be roleplayed, then D is necessarily larger than B.

It shows that there are builds that can be roleplayed that are not optimised builds. As Solik pointed out, this could be claimed as a victory for those who prioritise roleplaying. While you roleplay and don't optimise you have more build options than you do while you optimise. That does not automatically make you a better roleplayer.

Unless you can show that either

1) B == A; or
2) Builds in C cannot be roleplayed;

then the argument is true. Note that this is not a subjective argument, it does not matter what one player might do: this argument references the complete set of all possible players.

So what does it have to do with Stormwind?

1) The [post=11990222]Stormwind Fallacy[/post] cannot be adduced in support of any argument that wants to claim that there is nothing one gets from choosing builds based solely on roleplay. One does get something, the builds in C. The value of having those builds is subjective.

2) Stormwind was sometimes misinterpretable, for example 'roleplaying and min/maxing can easily coexist since they are independent of each other'. My argument presents a caution that you must not read statements like that as 'can always coexist'. Sometimes a build pick could be a pick from C, which is shown to allow roleplay but preclude optimising.

vk
I've long been curious about this, so while we're on the subject, I'll ask:

How did the Stormwind Fallacy get its name?

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

Many read 'optimizes his characters mechanically' to include more generally playing in an optimal way.

Do they? It seems that if I don't accept the preposition that optimising your character mechanically means also playing optimally (and I don't) then the rest of your argument falls down.

As we are discovering, you will sometimes reach moments where the choice indicated by roleplaying differs from the choice indicated by optimisation, and you cannot choose both.

-vk

Examples?
Examples?

I've never heard of the Stormwind fallacy, but I like a challenge.

Examples of playing an optimised game, ignoring "in character" choices that might make a more consistent story:

1) Hit the enemy you have the best bonuses against (to-hit/damage or other), as opposed to an NPC the character really wants to hurt for story reasons, but has less of a chance to affect.

2) Choose a feat or power which has no connection to the character's current backstory, because it is more useful than one or more that do. Willingness to re-write or alter said backstory when new powers or feats appear in new source material, and they are desirable.

3) Choose a character race or class with bonuses against an effect or condition due to history of conflict or ability to face that type of enemy. Followed by consistently avoiding enemies that cause that effect, because it is dangerous (also known as cowardly Paladin syndrome, or just "self preservation society" - example from ex-player in own group)

4) Carefully counting squares to multiple targets to determine ranges or charge, then choosing specific actions, as opposed to declaring specific actions first by feel and then figuring out what happens by counting out the movement.

5) Conveniently ignoring the fact that the group contains character races, classes and alignments that should clash horribly (or paying very little lip service to it).

6) Wearing full battle kit to an in-game drinking session at the local inn. Taking an 8-hour rest at an odd point in the story. Selecting actions against an NPC by bartering about who has the best options or powers, using game terminolgy ("I have +8 to Intimidate") in front of that NPC.

7) Attempts to "roll back time" if an action has unforseen consequences (such as running past someone causing an opportunity attack).

None of these things mean that a player cannot roleplay. What they say to me is that some people think: "(a) Roleplay/story (b) Game" and others think "(a) Game (b) Roleplay". Ocasionally the natural first choice diverges from the natural second choice. Most often it just comes out in game-like play style - I include rolling back time for instance, because it is a chess-piece or board-game mentality, and I find players who accidentally trip off an effect or consequence because they chose an action first will accept the extra risk or damage without revising their plan, whereas an optimiser will often choose a completely different action (move opposite direction, use a ranged power as opposed to melee etc) if you let them.
4) Carefully counting squares to multiple targets to determine ranges or charge, then choosing specific actions, as opposed to declaring specific actions first by feel and then figuring out what happens by counting out the movement.

6) Selecting actions against an NPC by bartering about who has the best options or powers, using game terminolgy ("I have +8 to Intimidate") in front of that NPC.

I don't think that these are contrary in any way to roleplaying, because often the characters in the story would be expected to have a better handle on their own and each other's abilities than the players might. An experienced character considering a charge in combat would have a decent idea of whether he could reach that enemy or not, while the player would have to count squares to be sure. Characters often spend a lot more time together than their players do (days or weeks at a time, instead of hours), and a lot more time contemplating and considering strategies that they can use in tandem (in or out of combat).

Of course, I also don't like it when a DM bars players from discussing their next few moves in the middle of combat. I accept that this might help increase immersion, but characters are often skilled combatants and tacticians, while players are not necessarily.

I see these only as points where the game/character interplay is particularly clumsy. I see these mechanical conversations between players as a means of overcoming that clumsiness.

I think a better alteration to the fallacy would be to simply more clearly define mechanical optimization for the purposes of this particular definition.
I think it was a poster named Stormwind that propagated the "you optimize so you can't roleplay" idea.

It was the other way around. A poster by the name of Tempest Stormwind came up with the fallacy and named it after himself (i.e. he argued that you can both optimize and roleplay at the same time). Back in the day, he was one of the most intelligent and interesting posters out there, but I don't recall having seen him post anything recently.

Of course, the fallacy is a useless thought exercise devoid of any practical application in an on-going game.
Do they? It seems that if I don't accept the preposition that optimising your character mechanically means also playing optimally (and I don't) then the rest of your argument falls down.

The part you quote is actually irrelevant to the argument; I just felt it was an interesting point to consider. I hope I do not misrepresent you in sayng that you feel that Stormwind only applies to character mechanical optimisation--which you read as character creation and progression choices. A question that raises is whether you feel that Stormwind does not apply to the other potentially optimised choices you make during play? Do you?

I suspect if you do, you will find it pernicious; but let's say I take back the comment you object to? How does that help us? It isn't an underpinning predicate of my main argument. Dropping it does not disturb that argument, because we now only need to find an example of a character creation or progression choice that can be roleplayed or optimised, but not both at once, to show a revision along the lines proposed is justifiable. I do feel we should have a test for any example we will accept: it must not be strained, and it should be one that has come up in play and has reasonable currency. So for examples, slobo777a captured some possibilities: let's work up one of his (#2).

I am choosing a feat for my Warlock (I'll stick to core here) who I have delineated as a bookish character. I notice the incredible benefits that Stealth can give a Warlock, and notice that Warrior of the Wild is an optimal way to gain that skill. However, I don't feel my character should have that from a roleplaying point of view. I feel he should have Linguist, which is a decidedly sub-optimal choice for the combat heavy campaign our DM is running. I can only choose one feat this level, so I must choose between a feat indicated by optimisation or a feat indicated by roleplay. I cannot at this time satisfy both.

Please remember here that we cannot challenge my sense of what my character wants from a roleplaying perspective. I am allowed to assert that that is so. We can challenge my sense of what would be optimal, but if we do, then unless we manage to show Linguist will become the best pick by optimisation criteria we're still running into trouble.

The Warrior of the Wild example came up months ago in detailed debate on Stealth and optimisation with Stealth, and value of Stealth to Warlocks. I feel it has currency and is not strained. Can you find any issues with it that I have missed?

-vk
I don't think that these are contrary in any way to roleplaying, because often the characters in the story would be expected to have a better handle on their own and each other's abilities than the players might. An experienced character considering a charge in combat would have a decent idea of whether he could reach that enemy or not, while the player would have to count squares to be sure. Characters often spend a lot more time together than their players do (days or weeks at a time, instead of hours), and a lot more time contemplating and considering strategies that they can use in tandem (in or out of combat).

Of course, I also don't like it when a DM bars players from discussing their next few moves in the middle of combat. I accept that this might help increase immersion, but characters are often skilled combatants and tacticians, while players are not necessarily.

I see these only as points where the game/character interplay is particularly clumsy. I see these mechanical conversations between players as a means of overcoming that clumsiness.

I think a better alteration to the fallacy would be to simply more clearly define mechanical optimization for the purposes of this particular definition.

I agree they are not contrary, but in my experience players who use these approaches end up spending their limited time slot on game mechanics issues as their priority. Players who call the shots first are often sub-optimal in what they do (especially at first until they get used to what the character can/cannot do in a by-feel way), but spend more of their time thinking about motivations and descriptions.

All people have limited attention to spend - usually much more limited than they themselves think. Have you seen the recent famous "Gorilla in the basketball game." experiment for example? (Was also turned into an advert for road safety with a dancing bear). No real-world player or DM can think of several things at once, irrespective of whether they "conflict". In practice, because optimisation takes time and effort, and the game flows on at a certain pace, the RP gets reduced.

Now if all the players optimised to a similar degree, and the gamers are willing to slow the pace so that optimising and RP-ing are both included (or even expected), then I could imagine the game where you could quite happily have the best of both worlds. I don't see this happen in practice though, and it probably boils down to player motivations - i.e. very few groups want to do this.
I agree they are not contrary, but in my experience players who use these approaches end up spending their limited time slot on game mechanics issues as their priority. Players who call the shots first are often sub-optimal in what they do (especially at first until they get used to what the character can/cannot do in a by-feel way), but spend more of their time thinking about motivations and descriptions.

If that is what you are getting at, then you should just say that spending time thinking about optimal combat tactics without regard to character is contrary to roleplay. Instead you listed two player habits that may or may not be related in any way to how much they optimize or roleplay.

In fact I think both of these habits are almost necessary for roleplay. My character wouldn't charge an enemy if he's going to end up five feet short before he gets an arrow in the face. He would have an idea of how far he can move before the guy reloads. The way I as a player determine this is by counting squares. The character would know it intuitively.

My character would also have a sense of how effective his ally is at intimidation tactics. He would know if his buddy is frightening when he howls like a madman to chase off enemies or if he is just goofy. I as a player do not necessarily have as much of a grasp on the other characters in the game, nor how those character traits are represented mechanically by the player. The way I determine this is to ask, assuming that the characters would have figured these things out between them long before the current encounter actually took place.

Even if this new argument is what you were getting at, I'm not sure I agree. A player who spends three minutes thinking about character and two minutes thinking about tactics may well be optimizing more than roleplaying. A player who spends one minute thinking about each may be optimizing and roleplaying to the same, greater, or lesser degree. Maybe it just takes the second player less time to optimize his character's combat choices, and at the same time he has a much better grasp on his character's motivations than player 1. Roleplaying and mechanics will require different amounts of energy, time, and focus from player to player, from action to action, from character to character, and from system to system.

A proposed alteration: choosing optimized equipment or options at level up does not preclude roleplaying.

Possible corollary: choosing suboptimal equipment or options at level up does not mean you are automatically roleplaying.
It was the other way around. A poster by the name of Tempest Stormwind came up with the fallacy and named it after himself (i.e. he argued that you can both optimize and roleplay at the same time). Back in the day, he was one of the most intelligent and interesting posters out there, but I don't recall having seen him post anything recently.

Of course, the fallacy is a useless thought exercise devoid of any practical application in an on-going game.

Hardly, there is no logical reason to one can't roleplay and optimize since roleplaying is in fact wholly unrelated to actual character ability. Unless you are roleplaying a handicapped adventurer, you are likely going to be roleplaying a hero which is what an optimized character is. One cannot say that roleplaying and optimization are mutually exclusives solely from a handful of observations. Either you can roleplay your optimizations or optimize for your roleplay.
I am choosing a feat for my Warlock (I'll stick to core here) who I have delineated as a bookish character. I notice the incredible benefits that Stealth can give a Warlock, and notice that Warrior of the Wild is an optimal way to gain that skill. However, I don't feel my character should have that from a roleplaying point of view. I feel he should have Linguist, which is a decidedly sub-optimal choice for the combat heavy campaign our DM is running. I can only choose one feat this level, so I must choose between a feat indicated by optimisation or a feat indicated by roleplay. I cannot at this time satisfy both.

Please remember here that we cannot challenge my sense of what my character wants from a roleplaying perspective.

But we can challenge your choice from a roleplaying perspective. And we should - what you have described is indeed not an example against the Stormwind fallacy, but simply a case of bad roleplaying...

The rule you try to establish about not challenging this, is some kind of afterthought - because if we do, your argument collapse. But you describe someone who is in a dilemma of sorts - a common one - and doesn't want to "do his homework" properly.

There are perfectly good ways to work this choice into that character - saying for example that during his adventuring, your Warlock has found qualities he didn't expect to possess. Far from his usual bookish side, he has found that he revels in the danger and the struggles he has been immersed in. Much to his bafflement – and partly horror - he finds buried parts of himself adapted to that kind of violence. That would fit with the choice you describe.

Your "roleplaying-choice", as you describe it, is entirely arbitrary. As such, it is in no way a challenge to the Stormwind fallacy.
Like many issues, this boils down to labels. We apply the label of optimizing to a series of activities, but each person has a slightly different view on which activitiers constitute optimizing in which circumstances. Further, role playing is a label for a series of activities which also shares a variable understanding.

There are certain activities that some people consider optimizing that CAN conflict with some activities that some people consider role playing IN certain situations. People have brought up countless examples over the years. When these examples surface, people typically argue about what the labels of optimizing and role playing include. That tends to be a fruitless exercise.

To me, optimizing vs role playing isn't as big of a deal as optimizing vs game design. 4E is not designed to face off against optimized characters. It is designed to face off against good characters that are not capitalizing upon cracks in the rules. The game works best - and is the most fun in general - when these narrow cracks are not exploited by any character. Of course, that whole discussion also relies upon labels, but it is a bigger deal to me than the role vs roll argument...
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I am choosing a feat for my Warlock (I'll stick to core here) who I have delineated as a bookish character. I notice the incredible benefits that Stealth can give a Warlock, and notice that Warrior of the Wild is an optimal way to gain that skill. However, I don't feel my character should have that from a roleplaying point of view. I feel he should have Linguist, which is a decidedly sub-optimal choice for the combat heavy campaign our DM is running. I can only choose one feat this level, so I must choose between a feat indicated by optimisation or a feat indicated by roleplay. I cannot at this time satisfy both.

Please remember here that we cannot challenge my sense of what my character wants from a roleplaying perspective. I am allowed to assert that that is so. We can challenge my sense of what would be optimal, but if we do, then unless we manage to show Linguist will become the best pick by optimisation criteria we're still running into trouble.

Of course I would challenge why a bookish character goes on a combat heavy adventure.
I am choosing a feat for my Warlock (I'll stick to core here) who I have delineated as a bookish character. I notice the incredible benefits that Stealth can give a Warlock, and notice that Warrior of the Wild is an optimal way to gain that skill. However, I don't feel my character should have that from a roleplaying point of view. I feel he should have Linguist, which is a decidedly sub-optimal choice for the combat heavy campaign our DM is running. I can only choose one feat this level, so I must choose between a feat indicated by optimisation or a feat indicated by roleplay. I cannot at this time satisfy both.

This is a bad argument on several levels:

1 - You created your character, thus you choose whether he is bookish or sneaky or violent. The player who decided that his warlock was sneaky and plays him as that is just as good a roleplayer as you are. People claiming incompetent characters are better roleplayed then competent ones is one of the reasons the Stormwind Fallacy was created.

2 - Being sneaky, and combative and bookish are all non exclusive character traits. Sure your Warlock could be brushing up on his Deep Speech and whatnot, but he's also practicing the things that keep him alive on a day to day basis and since he's spent more time in dungeons then in the library he picked up the "not being murdered" skill first.

3 - People change. If I go, "Huh, my bookish warlock is starting to enjoy sneaking about and blasting goblins," I would be a bad roleplayer for NOT taking Warrior of the Wild instead of Linguist. If your characters are truly organic they are just as likely, if not more likely, to be drawn towards increasing their combat skills to deal with their everyday problems.

The problem is not with the Stormwind Fallacy. The problem lies in you.
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The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy
Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa.

Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game.

The problem with the original fallacy is it doesn't actually mean anything. While it may be possible to roleplay when you highly optimize a character, this doesn't mean that optimizers usually do so.
Roleplaying is the act of putting yourself in the shoes of the character post creation and allowing the "characters motives" to guide your actions during play. Motives have little do with the ability scores used to detail the character. Making a character that is "sub-optimal in terms of combat mechanics" has nothing to do with roleplaying. It does having a lot to do with the freedom to play a non-optomized character concept regardless of it's impact on combat mechanics, and it's not stupid to want to do so.

The problem we're having on this thread is that too many people are confusing roleplaying with character concepts that affect ability scores and skill choices. You can roleplay any character! The question is, must you build a character concept that is optomized for combat? Anyone who says that it's stupid to take a character that is suboptimal in combat, or even bad at combat, has been playing only part of what is D&D. They understand the combat part, but are likely to have missed out on the rest of the game that some of us have been enjoying for 30+ years.

A good roleplayer can enjoy playing a character that is designed for combat, and one that isn't designed to be good at combat. A person who doesn't completely understand D&D may not understand the players who don't care if their character is sub-optimal in terms of combat mechanics and belittle those who want to play a lingist, saying they're bad roleplayers for not wanting to be stealthy instead. They're not bad roleplayers for wanting a character concept that doesn't fit someone's idea of an optimized character, and if you can't understand that then the problem lies with you.
The problem with the original fallacy is it doesn't actually mean anything. While it may be possible to roleplay when you highly optimize a character, this doesn't mean that optimizers usually do so.

It's meant to counter the many comments that get tossed about on message boards like this, where people claim bad characters are somehow "better for roleplaying" then good characters. It should have no use, but since people insist on getting the facts wrong over and over it just can't seem to die in peace.

Usually this is done because the person in question is bad at optimizing and is searching for some way to claim superiority over the guy who's character just blew his out of the water (on purpose or accidentally). This was far more common back in 3rd, where it was possible to build some really bad/good characters.
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Your "roleplaying-choice", as you describe it, is entirely arbitrary. As such, it is in no way a challenge to the Stormwind fallacy.

I've abbreviated your post, so sorry if I miss anything important to you. It seems to me that your resistance amounts to proposing that some kind of test applies to roleplaying choices before you will allow them. Only roleplaying choices that pass your test are allowed. That looks tough to defend.

My experience is that players frequently believe that their interpretation is the one that counts when it comes to roleplaying. If they say their Rogue likes the colour green, how does your test work to know whether they are allowed that choice? What is the nature of this test, and how do we verify its results?

Of course I would challenge why a bookish character goes on a combat heavy adventure.

You touch in an interesting way on a difficulty with Stormwind. If you believe, as sapient does, that only some kinds of roleplay choices count, then you need to explain the test you apply, and make sure that things like a favourite food or colour can pass it.

My bookish character goes into a combat heavy adventure because it is thrust upon her to be a hero. She would rather be back in her library, but her sense of morality won't let her stand by while others suffer. Of course, I scarcely need a reason other than that I've delineated her that way. Unless someone can explain where they high ground lies in distinguishing those roleplay choices we want to allow, and those we don't, I feel we can't advance the argument by ruling out some people's choices.

Optimisation is similarly troubled. One might challenge to what ends the optimisation is supposed to work. If I was optimising toward the ends of knowing a lot of languages, well, Linguist is a good pick. However, I think most people mean optimisation toward combat effectiveness, and I think that is what Stormwind meant too. If (s)he didn't, then all we have is a tautology.

A common argument is that of sequence. Some people think it is okay to apply the roleplaying after the optimisation, and sapient provides us with an example; but Stormwind includes nothing about sequence. So far no one has shown why one sequence should be preferred over another. My observation is that some players feel choices should come first from roleplay, based on a delineated character, while others feel it's okay to backwardsly justify. What I ask is how you prove that the sequence you prefer should be allowed while others should not?

Finally, DaidojiTaidoru. Please find where I make the argument that you believe you are addressing and bring it to my attention.

-vk
I anyone is interested, here is the [post=11990222]Stormwind Fallacy[/post].

Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not at all times mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa.

Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor at all times infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game.

Huh, your grammar is off here, making this rather clumsy.
If you replace the bolded part with "automatically" it in the fallacy should work.
In the corollary replace the bolded part + "nor" with "does not automatically".

The problem with the original fallacy is it doesn't actually mean anything.

The fallacy itself is a counter to a specific type of bad reasoning.
It falls under the False Dilemma fallacy.

While it may be possible to roleplay when you highly optimize a character, this doesn't mean that optimizers usually do so.

Your correct. Anyone that says otherwise is miss using the fallacy.
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Examples?

A character who as his father lay dying in bed, swears a soul oath to his father to use the family longsword only, forsaking all other weapons. 4 levels down the road, he encounters a monster who is vulnerable to blunt weapons. Optimally, a mace is the best weapon. If he plays optimally, he must step out of character and deny his roleplay to kill the beast. If he uses his longsword, he is no longer playing optimally.

There are TONS of situations that put characters in the position of being optimal OR roleplaying, but unable to do both.
Of course I would challenge why a bookish character goes on a combat heavy adventure.

Roleplay ;)

Fate doesn't always allow you to stay in your nice quiet cubby, especially if you're a PC.
This is a bad argument on several levels:

1 - You created your character, thus you choose whether he is bookish or sneaky or violent. The player who decided that his warlock was sneaky and plays him as that is just as good a roleplayer as you are. People claiming incompetent characters are better roleplayed then competent ones is one of the reasons the Stormwind Fallacy was created.

This is true. It is ALSO true the the player who always plays his warlocks as sneaky or violent, and never bookish or something else less optimized, is a far more limited roleplayer than the person who is willing to roleplay it all.

3 - People change. If I go, "Huh, my bookish warlock is starting to enjoy sneaking about and blasting goblins," I would be a bad roleplayer for NOT taking Warrior of the Wild instead of Linguist. If your characters are truly organic they are just as likely, if not more likely, to be drawn towards increasing their combat skills to deal with their everyday problems.

This could go either way. It's not bad to grow in the direction of combat, but it's also not bad to continue to dislike combat and grow in the direction of your character's preferences.
A character who as his father lay dying in bed, swears a soul oath to his father to use the family longsword only, forsaking all other weapons. 4 levels down the road, he encounters a monster who is vulnerable to blunt weapons. Optimally, a mace is the best weapon. If he plays optimally, he must step out of character and deny his roleplay to kill the beast. If he uses his longsword, he is no longer playing optimally.

Or, with regret, he realizes that his family heirloom weapon is not sufficient for the task and, in this exception, uses a more fitting weapon like the mace.

More to the point would be if the player chose for the character to forever forsake the family longsword in favor of some other "more interesting" weapon. Although I'm sure something could be worked out with some imagination. It is when the decisions are made with with no fore- or after-thought for why. If it is a decision made for nothing else but mechanical reasons, then it can be seen as a bad decision.

Personally, I could less where the decision falls. My only concern is the players are having fun. The player has the choice of making the decision based on character reasons or mechanical reasons and I am not about to tell him he is doing it wrong if he is having fun.

Just an observation, but one of the interesting aspects of 4E is that with rituals like Enchant Magic Item and Transfer Enchantment, creating and keeping a family heirloom weapon is a great idea that means you do not have to give up said weapon down the road. The Weapons of Legacy addressed this late in 3.5E with weapons that could become progressively better, but it now seems integrated into 4E.

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A character who as his father lay dying in bed, swears a soul oath to his father to use the family longsword only, forsaking all other weapons. 4 levels down the road, he encounters a monster who is vulnerable to blunt weapons. Optimally, a mace is the best weapon. If he plays optimally, he must step out of character and deny his roleplay to kill the beast. If he uses his longsword, he is no longer playing optimally.

Huh, that would only be a conflict between the two if the character would not put the oath aside and use a mace. You would also have to have a mace with you that can deal enough damage to make up for the differnce in vulnerability and any possible enchantment/special property loss and any other boosts you would have that apply to the sword only.

In many such situations you decide your character and thus direct your own roleplay. If you plan ahead you should be able to head off most of these things.

I doubt that you can get them all, just most of them. However, you can still optimize your character without using the most optimal choice in every situation. To decide otherwise would require you to play pun-pun like characters to be considered to be optimized.
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Huh, your grammar is off here, making this rather clumsy.

I'm hurt. If you read down you may see what I'm trying to do with the wording.

If you replace the bolded part with "automatically" it in the fallacy should work. In the corollary replace the bolded part + "nor" with "does not automatically".

You supply a helpful advancement of the wording. Let's say we have

Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not automatically mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa.

Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, does not automatically infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game.


The remaining issue for me - and the motive for my specific wording - is to somehow indicate that there is a question not only of certainty, but of intermittance. It can be predicted that intermittant conflicts may occur. Any thoughts on that?

-vk
Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not automatically mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa.

Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, does not automatically infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game.

Excellent rewording.
However, I think most people mean optimisation toward combat effectiveness, and I think that is what Stormwind meant too. If (s)he didn't, then all we have is a tautology.

He didn't, and the argument is in fact a tautology. Yet it's one people frequently ignore.

Never the less, since "guy who is good at combat" is a viable RP choice those who optimize for combat are covered by it.

Some people think it is okay to apply the roleplaying after the optimisation, and sapient provides us with an example; but Stormwind includes nothing about sequence.

That's because sequence doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if I decide a characters personality before or after I assign their stats, so long as the two match it is good roleplaying and if they don't it's bad roleplaying. If your preferred sequence (whichever one that may be) doesn't work for you this time and you refuse to change it is your failing as a roleplayer. Just like an optimizer who doesn't consider campaign setting and houserules fails as an optimizer.

Finally, DaidojiTaidoru. Please find where I make the argument that you believe you are addressing and bring it to my attention.

If your refering to my second post, that's not directed at you. That's merely the history the Fallacy, which explains why it exists in the first place. Stormwind himself thinks it shouldn't need to exist, and on these boards the need for it has died down quite a bit.
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
Or, with regret, he realizes that his family heirloom weapon is not sufficient for the task and, in this exception, uses a more fitting weapon like the mace.

Heh. The forfeiture of his soul over the breaking of a soul oath made to his father on his father's dying bed just to kill a random encounter a bit easier would not happen with "with regret". It would not happen at all, except by tossing roleplay out the window.

Now, if it was the great arch demon Bozaz and the only way to save the world was to toss aside the longsword and use a mace, that would be a bit different. The stakes would be high enough that the PC could go either way and still be within the bounds of roleplay.

If it is a decision made for nothing else but mechanical reasons, then it can be seen as a bad decision.

In this case it would be for mechanical reasons only.

Personally, I could less where the decision falls. My only concern is the players are having fun. The player has the choice of making the decision based on character reasons or mechanical reasons and I am not about to tell him he is doing it wrong if he is having fun.

There's nothing wrong with this kind of game. The end goal of all games is presumably to have fun, and not all groups enjoy consistent roleplay.

Just an observation, but one of the interesting aspects of 4E is that with rituals like Enchant Magic Item and Transfer Enchantment, creating and keeping a family heirloom weapon is a great idea that means you do not have to give up said weapon down the road. The Weapons of Legacy addressed this late in 3.5E with weapons that could become progressively better, but it now seems integrated into 4E.

Yeah. I really enjoyed the Legacy weapons in 3ed.
A character who as his father lay dying in bed, swears a soul oath to his father to use the family longsword only, forsaking all other weapons. 4 levels down the road, he encounters a monster who is vulnerable to blunt weapons. Optimally, a mace is the best weapon. If he plays optimally, he must step out of character and deny his roleplay to kill the beast. If he uses his longsword, he is no longer playing optimally.

Use the flat side of the longsword. Or its pommel. Blunt!
doubt that you can get them all, just most of them. However, you can still optimize your character without using the most optimal choice in every situation. To decide otherwise would require you to play pun-pun like characters to be considered to be optimized.

1) This is the entire point of the thread. You cannot if you are always roleplaying, always choose the most optimal option. That's the whole premise that OP put forward.

2) Always optimizing limits RP. It doesn't stop RP, but it DOES limit it. You cannot play many types of character concepts if you always optimize. Therefore, someone who always optimizes is a more limited RPer than someone who doesn't always optimize.
Use the flat side of the longsword. Or its pommel. Blunt!

And that's great RP, but it won't do as much damage as a mace, and so will be sub-optimal. Your suggestion is what I would do if I were roleplaying that character.
I've abbreviated your post, so sorry if I miss anything important to you. It seems to me that your resistance amounts to proposing that some kind of test applies to roleplaying choices before you will allow them. Only roleplaying choices that pass your test are allowed. That looks tough to defend.

My experience is that players frequently believe that their interpretation is the one that counts when it comes to roleplaying. If they say their Rogue likes the colour green, how does your test work to know whether they are allowed that choice? What is the nature of this test, and how do we verify its results?

My objection is about the logic of the Stormwind fallacy. I think I phrased it a bit clearer in the other thread (the one about mixing combat and roleplaying) so I'll try to reiterate that:
The Stormwind fallacy says that for every optimized build, there exist at least one way to roleplay it effectively without inconsistencies.

That doesn't say that an optimized character will be compatible with every possible choice, as it is clearly not.

Your proposed counterexample doesn't disprove the fallacy in much the same way as pointing out that cabbage grows in patches doesn't disprove the phrase "Apple's grow on trees". Your argument is off the point.

Earlier you said that you: "only need to find an example of a character creation or progression choice that can be roleplayed or optimised, but not both at once". That is indeed true. But let me point out that this means not only describing one set of assumptions under which you choose not to roleplay AND optimize at the same time. (Effectively that was what you did in the example I commented. And tried to establish that assumption as off limits for the argument.)

But then, clearly, you haven't understood your own words.

In order to provide a genuine counterexample, you would have to prove that there exist at least one optimized choice that can't - under every possible legal condition - combine with any one sensible back story (or other "roleplaying" requirement of choice). Do you see?

Even a choice that is incompatible with a million backstories will still be compatible with thousands of other imagineable stories. And to uphold the fallacy, there need be only one that combines optimization and roleplaying.

Sometimes house rules will bar certain varieties - that's why I included the "every possible legal" condition above - and sometimes the backstory might seem silly, far fetched or ridicously contrived to you. But those are subjective conditions, sort of aestethic opinions of what kind of roleplaying are "good" or "has merit", and would still be valid.
A character who as his father lay dying in bed, swears a soul oath to his father to use the family longsword only, forsaking all other weapons. 4 levels down the road, he encounters a monster who is vulnerable to blunt weapons. Optimally, a mace is the best weapon. If he plays optimally, he must step out of character and deny his roleplay to kill the beast. If he uses his longsword, he is no longer playing optimally.

There are TONS of situations that put characters in the position of being optimal OR roleplaying, but unable to do both.

Yes, this is an entertaining backstory - but I fail to see why it would be a counterexample to the Stormwind fallacy?

The fallacy doesn't say that every combination of options of "roleplaying" and optimization is possible. You describe a situation where it clearly isn't.

(Although - usually - a particular weapon being sub-optimal for one specific kind of monster is not generally considered an optimization problem, since there will always be instances of that...)
The key is "not automatically." But essentially this is saying sometimes your role-playing driven choice is optimal. As immersive role-playing is essentially considering only the motivations of the character in the decision making process any consideration of optimization is by definiation not rp.

The fault in the logic saying that you can do both is really that immersive rp cannot include any "optimization" thought process. Rp isnt concerned with the results as much as it is the motivation of the actions. Optimization though is exactly the opposite. It focuses only on the results.

While the choice of the character might be the same, the actions serve different masters. The Rper's reasoning was, Farfad the dwarf would attack the goblin first as he hates the greenskins, the optimizer attack was done because the Farfad gets a bonus the round after he drops a foe so it will make the attack on the solo go much better.

Both players attacked the goblin minion first but for vastly different reasons and only was was really Rp-ing.
My objection is about the logic of the Stormwind fallacy. I think I phrased it a bit clearer in the other thread (the one about mixing combat and roleplaying) so I'll try to reiterate that:
The Stormwind fallacy says that for every optimized build, there exist at least one way to roleplay it effectively without inconsistencies.

That doesn't say that an optimized character will be compatible with every possible choice, as it is clearly not.

Gracious! That takes Stormwind a bit further than I had imagined, and comes as an intriguing angle to me. So in this case, am I obliged to roleplay characters that don't appeal to me? Let's say though, that we mean to include such a vast diversity of possible characters that some of them will be guaranteed to appeal to me?!

I think then we run into the problem of availability at the table. What if I don't happen to think of one of those very many possible character stories that fit? Or worse still, what if I have no desire to even find them? I'm happy with the story I have. We run once again into needing that test. By what quality are we judging that my happiness is not a sufficient condition for me to settle on the story I have, roleplay from it, and come into conflict with a choice that could be more optimal (and that I am aware of).

Even a choice that is incompatible with a million backstories will still be compatible with thousands of other imagineable stories. And to uphold the fallacy, there need be only one that combines optimization and roleplaying.

Can I fairly say that you structure your reading of Stormwind to proceed from a mechanical build to a story you find satisfactory to roleplay that build with? You acknowledge that it can be done the other way, sometimes causing conflicts, right?

-vk
Funny, I see neither example having one side or the other as "better roleplaying"


The bookish warlock- what if Stealth, for this 'lock, represents dodging away from the battles thrust upon her, trying to avoid conflict and hide from her destiny? Perhaps a great conflict of character becomes the willingness of the warlock to stop hiding from fate, to stop slinking through the shadows and help her friends.

And the idiot warrior? Well, sure, he could keep using the longsword, or he could use a mace. The degree to which his arbitrary oath matters more or less than his own survival and his mission would be an interesting facet of character development; a flawed character who breaks an oath has just as much roleplaying potential as a law-abiding, oath-keeping one.
It is not enough that there exists a way to role-play a choice in a single instance. Soap operas effectively do that. What is required is that character identity is maintained or transitioned due to story elements rather than game rules. Its not that an optimizer cant roleplay a single event its that the optimizer when faced with scenarios which require resolution of ambiguous courses the optimal choice is taken rather the character rp choice. Even if the actions are the same the thought process is different and therefore one is not the strictest interpretation of role-playing.
As immersive role-playing is essentially considering only the motivations of the character in the decision making process any consideration of optimization is by definiation not rp.

No. This is, again, faulty reasoning. What you say is that I cannot imagine a perfectionist, sort of zen-buddist "way of the sword" guy who constantly strivs to be the most excellent sword fighter.

Why wouldn't I be able to do that? I could clearly describe the concept?

Optimization of that characters sword-fighting ability would merely be the mechanical representation of that strive for perfection. So it would be all immersive roleplaying...
I just have t o say that I am so in love with 4e right now.

In 3e, when most of the game's mechanical creativity was in the chargen process, the Stormwind Fallacy was created and used to address a perceived conflict between optimized character design and roleplayed character action.

Now we find that 4e's mechanics are enough about what you do that the Fallacy is being bent to apply not only to the character's nature, but to the character's choices. I see this as a sign that the mechanical intricacy and engagement of on-table actions has reached a level at least equal to the design process in a way that the last edition didn't.

In other words, 4e's on-table mechanics must be doing something right if people are arguing about them in a way that 3e never achieved. Nobody ever asked if it'd be in-character to full attack this round, just like they did last round, after all. Sure, similar situations might have arisen, but they clearly weren't as frequent or meaningful as in 4e, or this facet of the Stormwind Fallacy would've been explored years ago.


As for the thread itself, it appears that people on both sides of the debate are saying that they only need one exception to the rule in their favour in order to be right. As there are infinite scenarios and infinite exceptions on both sides, I believe we should all consider ourselves lucky to have found an internet discussion in which everybody gets to be right.

(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.) Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
Yes, this is an entertaining backstory - but I fail to see why it would be a counterexample to the Stormwind fallacy?

In order to be a roleplayer, and not a rollplayer, you must roleplay at all times. If you stop roleplaying in order to get a mechanical advantage, then you are rollplaying. The fallacy was introduced to show that the two styles are not mutually exclusive, and they aren't. However, they do conflict at times as I've shown. A player's choices at those times will dictate which type of player he truly is. A rollplayer will pick up the mace to club the random encounter over the head. A roleplayer will use the longsword.

The fallacy doesn't say that every combination of options of "roleplaying" and optimization is possible. You describe a situation where it clearly isn't.

You're right. The fallacy is poorly written. If it was intended to show that you can do both at all times, then it fails to show that as written. If it was intended to show that you can optimize and sometimes roleplay, then it fails to show that optimizers can also be roleplayers. Roleplayers don't check in and out of their roleplay to suit their convenience. That's rollplaying.

(Although - usually - a particular weapon being sub-optimal for one specific kind of monster is not generally considered an optimization problem, since there will always be instances of that...)

Right, but it IS using a sub-optimal choice if you stick with the longsword. That's all.
Stormwind Fallacy says that you can come up with roleplaying justifications for any character build you like.

In other words, it's not about choosing between roleplaying and optimization. It's about optimizing, then making only the roleplaying choices that cater to and attempt to justify that optimization.

Of course, in real play, players often try to make characters that are reasonable, and often make sub-optimal choices because rather than optimizing and then justifying, they come up with a concept and choose options that fit.