Roleplay and Rollplay

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Steven C
Steven C's picture
Roleplay and Rollplay

I know that the easiest answer to this thread will be is whatever your group enjoys playing, go forth and have fun, but this is a forum, that that is more civil then most so let's discuss.

ROLL vs ROLE has been a topic that I've been interested in for a long time. The nature of our hobby is an enjoyable balance between rolling the dice to create and effect and playing a role to create the effect in the game. How; as a player, a GM or both to do and your groups weight this? How does your group balance this every changing idea in order to create a session everyone loves? How do you work with the social or the physical in the game, does one work more with ROLLplay and the other with ROLEplay more?

Thoughts, ideas, loves, hates, etc...?


For me this issue came became more 15 years ago. I had a player that was soically awkard and like most of us went he played RPGs he wanted to play something that something fantastic, and for him it was the smooth and sly face that was connected to everyone and to smooth talk out of nearly any issue. The problem was I'd have him roleplay it out and while he could eventually get there it was bogging the game down so much that other players were getting annoyed.

I talked to him, he loved the his character and didn't want to change but stated he would for the good of the group.. I decided that he shouldn't have to, we play characters we want to play, not characters we have to play. I'm not physically fit and I'm clumsy but I play agile warriors all the time and if that is fine for me to roll a dice and make some crazy agility move then he should be able to enjoy his character as he wants, within the limits of the rules and the campaign.



Zadmar's picture

I have three different hats.

When wearing my game-designer hat, I pay meticulously attention to the mechanics, cross-referencing and reverse-engineering different abilities and rules, and running simulations to determine their effectiveness. I find that a solid design results in fewer problems during play.

When wearing my GM hat, I reward roleplaying with bennies and situational modifiers, and encourage creative and tactical thinking during combat. I ignore rules if they're slowing down the story.

When wearing my player hat, I prefer to create interesting characters rather than powerful ones - but I make sure they're a valuable member of the group, and play to their strengths.


To quote: Ixnay from a previous thread.

"I guess that character wasn't a fit for your game. I often see trick/test of wills/talky characters restricted by these sorts of limitations. I don't see the same sort of limitations applied to characters that focus on magic or focus on combat. Magic, combat, or talky -- they all spent the edges for the effect. Is it because the talky character is not fun for the rest of the players?

I don't want to threadjack but this struck a chord for me. Are some builds not broken, per se, but just not considered fun by the community?"

In a Convention game you don't have much choice, with a previously played Justice and Life character.

I have no problems with the Shaken result from verbal interplay but when by the rules a player may make some rolls and gain an ally from a previous enemy in a fight is somewhat implausable, especially if it is on of Darkness or Flame.  If the Player wanted only the confusion effect of their talky edges to cause a "Shaken" result then so be it.  I approve of it BUT if the character is designed to totally derail combat and make an enemy into a friend with just Edges, there is where I draw a bit of a line.  Some enemies will not be converted.  That is part in parcel of being corrupted by Flame or Darkness.  And a Neutral could instantly change their mind later, such as a Builder that is tasked with protecting an area with other Builders in it.  You are not going to get free access. Edges or No.

This is a good game where bad guys run away but how would a Hero (Player) feel if I made a Talky NPC with the same abilities and then made a few rolls and boom you are corrupted and working for Darkness or Flame, you are thier Ally.


Before you ask, It was a Legendary character and there were a bunch of Edges specifically built in the, I can talk to it and talk it out of anything type of maner. No I don't remember the build, sorry.



faradhii's picture

I have a quote I use often for roleplay vs. rollplay.  "I love roleplaying, but I prefer to do it from a strong chasis".  Bsically I want a competent character that does what he/she does well and then roleplay the weaknesses, etc.  Ash is a VERY functional character, but I enjoy roleplaying him as somewhat an elitist.  he's an Eldakar, he'll sacrifice himself to save the human baby, but if he can't he won't waste a moment feeling guilty.  After all, it's a human, they'll just make more!  :)

Dúnedhel Vala!

Ixnay's picture

The ROLL vs ROLE pharsing can imply a single line, with game mechanics focus on one end and character development focus on another. I think they can vary independently. Like faradhii said, an efficiently-built character can still be nuanced and well-played. Similarly, a mechanically-ineffective character can also be trite or boring. For me, interesting & effective > interesting & inefficient >>> boring, effective or otherwise.

Ixnay's picture

To continue the discussion of Matrix4b's post,

It's looks like there's a common goal of keeping the game fun. At times, this means working out guidelines for a character that could reduce the enjoyment of other players (including the GM) by breaking the narrative/setting or making conflict uninteresting. For me, the narrative and setting are more resiliant so I'm more concerned with the mechanical effect than the special effect.

If enemy dominiation is not a problem for a high-powered adept with Puppet then I'll have a tough time saying it's a problem for the Legendary talker. But that's starting from a mechanics viewpoint. The talker might need to be limited for the sake of the setting. If that's the case, these limitations need to be well-known before hand. Otherwise, it's a recipe for frustration.

DavidFredricksonJr.'s picture

As a player I prefer my characters to have a solid starting point and a plan on what I want them to be able to do. If that changes along the way thats fine as the changes will be in keeping with the characters experiances.

I really dislike characters who are made intentionally weak for some neblous bonus which no one ever sees. So yes every character has a role and they should be able to roll with the party.


Est Sularus oth Mithas.