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gyrovague
Topic Author
Posts: 396
Joined: Tue 28 Apr 2020, 16:52

Re: Councils too simple?

Fri 30 Jul 2021, 19:07

I actually can't quite tell which side you are arguing (and maybe neither). But I'll add that if one define's everything as binary, then that's the lens through which they will look at it. ("When all you have is a hammer...")

1. Council of Elrond: I can't use this. The author has the rest of the story hinging on this one. If Elrond had not rolled nine Gandalfs to get this Outrageous decision through, this forum wouldn't exist.

That's true if you see the outcome as binary. But were there other possible outcomes that would have resulted in the story evolving in other ways?

2. Strider meeting the hobbits in Bree: His aim was to be their guide. Aragorn had a Success. 'Could this have 'gone wrong?' Could Aragorn have had a partial Success?

He did get a partial success: Frodo agreed to go with him, but wasn't 100% trusting. Sam even more so.

3. The Fellowship meet Galadriel & Celeborn: In this they wanted (needed) shelter. They got that. Yet they also had three major extras (a) their individual gifts (Really Useful Items!) (b) the advice of the elf lords, Celeborn and Galadriel - including the Mirror for Frodo & Sam and (c) the collective gifts of the boats and Lorien Cloaks.

Yes, that was extra successes. A normal success would have just been grudging shelter in a flet on the outskirts of Lorien.

4. Gandalf meets Theoden after escaping Isengard: A Failure as Gandalf did not persuade Theoden of his danger. But with this Failure, Gandalf had an excuse to take Shadowfax.

Partial success right there.

5. Gandalf returns to Edoras: A Success, because a defence against Saruman was raised. But More than a Success, because Theoden himself went to war. Gandalf could not have been expecting (or ASKING FOR) such a strong result.

Agreed.

6. Meeting with Saruman after Helm's Deep: A Failure. Saruman did not turn back to the path of Wisdom. His Lore and Skill was denied to the Powers of Light, and Isengard, though nullified, was of no use to Rohan or Gondor. Yet, not a total failure. His staff was broken, and a palantir was recovered.

I see that as a total failure, and hostilities commenced.

For the ones that may well be Councils - would RAW realise their narratives? Does the framing of the Council Rules suggest and encourage such narratives strongly enough that new players and a new LM would produce interactions like this? Is so, then the rules are explicit enough. If not then they may be too simple.

In my opinion, no.
 
MDuckworth83
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue 06 Jul 2021, 03:32

Re: Councils too simple?

Fri 30 Jul 2021, 19:30

To be honest, I'never never liked the intent to rule the narrative of social interaction as Council rules do. I didn't like it on 1ed. and I don't even give the chance to read them now on this aplha 2ed.
I just let the players do the talk, create narrative strategy and then call for rolls when needed, just it, I think rolls always get in the way of the narrative, specially on social interaction as intended by the Council rules.
I hate to face a situation where the player doesn't have anything to bargain, or the roleplay is so bad, but your roll is so good that the NPC is forced to give you what you're claiming for just because the rule say so.
I'm of the opposite mind. I don't like in character roleplay, because it always feels to me like low budget 80s Fantasy B film tier acting (at best) and can't stand the dumb voices and accents. I let me characters do it if they want, but I always narrate everything third person. (i.e. "The king furrows his brow, and responds with a tone of authority why he does not see your terms as acceptable"). Also, what if somebody really bad at voice acting and roleplay wants to play a persuasive, silver tongued character?

I tend to think it kind of has to be all or nothing. Either design an RPG that is all based on the player's roleplay and doesn't include mechanical social skills, or include mechanical social skills and give them an objective, mechanical framework to be meaningful in. I've always hated the way D&D handwaves this and D&D isn't even really a true roleplaying game.
 
MDuckworth83
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue 06 Jul 2021, 03:32

Re: Councils too simple?

Fri 30 Jul 2021, 19:31

To be honest, I'never never liked the intent to rule the narrative of social interaction as Council rules do. I didn't like it on 1ed. and I don't even give the chance to read them now on this aplha 2ed.
I just let the players do the talk, create narrative strategy and then call for rolls when needed, just it, I think rolls always get in the way of the narrative, specially on social interaction as intended by the Council rules.
I hate to face a situation where the player doesn't have anything to bargain, or the roleplay is so bad, but your roll is so good that the NPC is forced to give you what you're claiming for just because the rule say so.
I'm of the opposite mind. I don't like "in character dialogue" roleplay, because it always feels to me like low budget 80s Fantasy B film tier acting (at best) and can't stand the dumb voices and accents. I let me characters do it if they want, but I always narrate everything third person. (i.e. "The king furrows his brow, and responds with a tone of authority why he does not see your terms as acceptable"). Also, what if somebody really bad at voice acting and roleplay wants to play a persuasive, silver tongued character?

I tend to think it kind of has to be all or nothing. Either design an RPG that is all based on the player's roleplay and doesn't include mechanical social skills, or include mechanical social skills and give them an objective, mechanical framework to be meaningful in. I've always hated the way D&D handwaves this and D&D isn't even really a true roleplaying game.
 
Dunheved
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed 11 Mar 2020, 02:07
Location: UK

Re: Councils too simple?

Fri 30 Jul 2021, 19:38

@ Gyrovague Ah. You saw through my subterfuge. I am trying to present information about a way of using the novels as bedrock for the development of rules during the feedback period.

Since someone else can see that these examples do have levels of Sucess, I am happier to argue that the novels (rather than simply my opinion) mean that rules on Councils should be explicitly embracing a wider range of outcomes.
 
gyrovague
Topic Author
Posts: 396
Joined: Tue 28 Apr 2020, 16:52

Re: Councils too simple?

Fri 30 Jul 2021, 19:54

@ Gyrovague Ah. You saw through my subterfuge. I am trying to present information about a way of using the novels as bedrock for the development of rules during the feedback period.

Since someone else can see that these examples do have levels of Sucess, I am happier to argue that the novels (rather than simply my opinion) mean that rules on Councils should be explicitly embracing a wider range of outcomes.
I arrive at the same conclusion, but only because I think it makes for better gameplay.

There are many places in the game where we take poetic license with the source in order to make a better game. Starting with the equalizing/balancing of the various cultures.
 
RichKarp
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue 29 Jun 2021, 19:37

Re: Councils too simple?

Fri 30 Jul 2021, 20:07

There is supreme irony behind saying we can’t use the Council of Elrond chapter as a model for Council rules in the books: this is literally the council for which the rules are named, and at the time he wrote it, Tolkien didn’t yet know which direction the story would take.

Which is of course, the entire point. Not only could it evolve differently, but there should be interesting threads that arise from in-game Councils that serve as more than merely an “episode” or entree into an Adventure. They are supposed to be pivotal points in the story where decisions are made, and the story events can turn one way or another. I would like it better if the rules set treated them as such, rather than just another typical challenge to be overcome.

“Thankfully we passed those rolls everyone so now we can get started on the first leg of this journey to Mount Doom. OK what’s the marching order?”
Last edited by RichKarp on Fri 30 Jul 2021, 20:37, edited 1 time in total.
 
gyrovague
Topic Author
Posts: 396
Joined: Tue 28 Apr 2020, 16:52

Re: Councils too simple?

Fri 30 Jul 2021, 20:14

“Thankfully we passed those rolls everyone so now we can get started on the first leg of this journey to Mount Doom. OK what’s the marching order?”
"Too bad we burned all our Hope on that Council. I heard Mordor is a rough zone to adventure in."
 
RichKarp
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue 29 Jun 2021, 19:37

Re: Councils too simple?

Fri 30 Jul 2021, 20:34

"Too bad we burned all our Hope on that Council. I heard Mordor is a rough zone to adventure in."
“It’s not actually so rough anymore since it’s not a Blighted Land, we just have Disadvantage on all our rolls. At least we won’t have to worry about Shadow Corruption!”



RE: desired level of roleplaying vs mechanics, I actually see almost no tension here. It’s easily settled based on the preference of the group: do you act out your parts, or do you merely say what your overall strategy is? Lord of the Rings shifts register all the time at important moments. This is entirely stylistic. A well-designed system shouldn’t hinge on players’ acting abilities, nor should it boil down all solutions to just rolling Courtesy because that’s what they have 4 pips in and that’s their best Skill. Hedging on that and saying there is no good middle ground is a red herring, and it will prevent you from having a discussion about how the rules could produce better and more interesting narrative outcomes.
 
edufernandes
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed 17 Feb 2021, 21:28

Re: Councils too simple?

Fri 30 Jul 2021, 20:45

I'm of the opposite mind. I don't like in character roleplay, because it always feels to me like low budget 80s Fantasy B film tier acting (at best) and can't stand the dumb voices and accents. I let me characters do it if they want, but I always narrate everything third person. (i.e. "The king furrows his brow, and responds with a tone of authority why he does not see your terms as acceptable"). Also, what if somebody really bad at voice acting and roleplay wants to play a persuasive, silver tongued character?

I tend to think it kind of has to be all or nothing. Either design an RPG that is all based on the player's roleplay and doesn't include mechanical social skills, or include mechanical social skills and give them an objective, mechanical framework to be meaningful in. I've always hated the way D&D handwaves this and D&D isn't even really a true roleplaying game.
I get your point. Of course it's just a matter of point of view, different players at the table and how we see narrative impact. I don't impersonate my characters' voices, sometimes I narrate third person, sometimes not, but never using low budget cartoonish voices, not even for monsters. My point is, if the player don't give a real good argument, or something to bargain to change NPC's reaction to them, no roll is allowed, not even to start.
The kind of games I run are very immersive, to the point that sometimes a good narrative can let the player do lots of things (if he has a certain level in the correct skill) without any roll, some adventures are even solved just by characters' interpretation and players getting NPCs reaction by my sole interpretation.
Anyway YMMV, and this is the beauty of roleplaying games, each of us see things differently.
 
RichKarp
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue 29 Jun 2021, 19:37

Re: Councils too simple?

Sat 31 Jul 2021, 00:13

While this all an nice theoretically, I don´t see how you can come up with a "one-size-fits-all" rule that is robust and offers fun gameplay reliably

Why do you think so?

Just for perspective, the game has detailed rules for long journeys and traveling encumbrance, skill checks and prolonged actions, and combat, all of which involve some pretty specific and situational requirements. I find it strange to think that moving to apply the equivalent of Robert’s Rules to an in-game debate to preserve an orderly flow to generating narrative outcomes would be so much harder. As I have mentioned - other games have done it, often much better than TOR’s Councils as they stand in the present edition alpha.

It can be quite complex of course, but it doesn’t have to be. The notional phases would be something like the old Introduction where you determine who is participating, have a brief discussion that lays out the stakes (which can be anything really) and determines where various participants fall in terms of desired outcomes, and then you resolve it through a combination of dice-powered math and/or narrative persuasion. It could be more complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

A lot of the other ideas mentioned could be incorporated in minimally disruptive ways. You got a letter of introduction from a Patron last Fellowship phase that is useful in the Council; get bonus dice or all your character’s rolls are treated as Favoured. You happen to have rescued one of the Folk during the adventure belonging to the NPC, so you can flub one extra roll or ignore a negative result because of their gratitude. Your Cultural Virtue lets you get an extra die whenever you spend Hope in a Council - or whatever. The bonuses and narrative hooks can be external to the Council itself, so long as there are obvious tie-in points.

One of the things I mentioned earlier is a legitimate question: what happens when PCs disagree about a complex topic? Shouldn’t they be allowed to voice dissent within a Council and advocate for the course they think is right? And then there would be some rules to support the ruling of the majority whatever it is - rather than letting purely group dynamics solve it.

Indeed, solutions are always what players in general are seeking - and complications and changed circumstances are what the Loremaster should be striving to provide. TOR isn’t a video game: nothing is ever really truly “over.” It’s meant to play as a campaign with a Tale of Years where decisions have long-reaching consequences and unforeseen impacts. But the current Council rules don’t really do that… Something more ambitious of course wasn’t guaranteed to succeed, but I’m disappointed that they didn’t really try for more.
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