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D&D 3E
Role play.. 
13th-Feb-2003 11:21 pm
dice
Our last two sessions of D&D have seen absolutely no combat, and little rolling (except for things like spot checks). They were incredibly enjoyable. The best "role" playing we've done in a long time, we've recently temporarily retired one group of characters (we have two groups running concurrently) which were becoming just puppets of the dice. We're really ceased to "role" play. Now we're actually in character again, and it's really cool. And I don't miss the combats (although we've been promised a fight in the next session).

Am I the only one who really enjoys sessions without combat? I'm not saying I dislike combat, but I prefer to have maybe two combats tops each session, with much more talking and puzzle solving and the like. Am I alone in this?
Comments 
13th-Feb-2003 03:24 pm (UTC)
No! No! I was going to comment with praise even before I read your question. I get despondent when, at times, it feels as if the world of gamers are just a bunch of combat wombats. In my weekly roleplaying game session - I've not looked at my character sheet in, um, months and I don't think there's been a fight in, gosh, half a year of play. There's often danger. We've run away from people with swords but there's been no fight.

Can I ask a rude question?
It seems I can.

Are you American?

Now I ask only because it seems that the European gaming groups I keep in touch with are roleplay before rollplay as often as not. In America (and I don't know many Canadian gamers) it all seems to be about the dungeon crawl, even when they profess that they're interested in other things. I'm not insulting American gamers here, I honestly think there's a cultural difference. Pre-written adventures, I'm told, don't sell nearly as well in the UK as they do in the States (percentage sales, rather than sheer numbers).
13th-Feb-2003 03:42 pm (UTC)
I'm glad we have some element of combat. I don't think I could cope without it for that long - I like the idea that at times the dice can decide the fate of your character. But yes, the roleplaying bit is my favourite. I've just joined my first World of Darkness campaign and the first session was awesome.

As for where I'm from, I'm very much British.

As for if we're role before roll, I know a number of people who prefer hack and slash. And some who just don't think D&D can be used for anything other than that - which I think is a shame because as we've proved it's blatantly untrue. But then, a lot of my friends love the role bit more, and we were all quite despondent when we weren't roleplaying very well.

I don't know about set adventures. My GM have bought a few but she integrates them into a fantastically rich game world and writes most of her own stuff.

One day I'll have to write about the best bit of roleplaying I ever did (so far)..
13th-Feb-2003 03:37 pm (UTC)
Maybe I'm just being an advocate for The Dark Side(tm) but I enjoy occasional combat in games. In discussion of roleplay vs. 'rollplay' I like a good balance. Sure we can solve puzzles or go find a contact to get information from, but I like a little action to spice things up. I suppose it all depends on the overall theme of a particular game. Personally, if I'm playing a fighter character, I'll want to be fighting. It's kind of in his job description. If I'm a wizard or a cleric or even a paladin or ranger, I'd be led into other non-combative types of gameplay. I think like a general movie-going populace, I may be more interested in an action sequence than a stuffy political debate and I see nothing wrong with this.

Whew, sorry if I sounded a bit defensive there. I just think 'rollplay' sounds like some sort of gamer elitist splashword.

And yeah, I'm American.
13th-Feb-2003 03:51 pm (UTC)
Don't worry, I didn't find you defensive.

I also like a balance of the two - if a slightly skewed balance. I do really enjoy combats, especially if they're well designed (which our GM isn't finding too easy with the CR system, but that's a subject for another post). I've actually taken a pacifist of sorts for my current character though, which will make combats more interesting because they should become more tactical. When I'm involved in a combat I don't like the pure rolling aspect that some of the easier fights so often become. One of the reasons I generally take mages I suppose. But I love the tactical thinking, the plans (that generally go awry), the getting the shit beaten out of you, all that stuff.

I'm also not really so into puzzles. I prefer them to the combat, but only because I'm good at puzzles! (I know the way my GM thinks too well).

What I really like is the conversations. It feels more like living out a life than the combats do.

But yes, a mix is needed. It's just how you balance the mix. And if people chose to balance it differently that's fine. If we all liked roleplaying the same way it'd be a pretty boring world. Admittedly, it would be easier to please others, but it'd still be damn boring.
13th-Feb-2003 03:54 pm (UTC)
I was trying not to sound elitist. I was trying very hard because I am being elitist. I've played in one off combat fests but they're always an one off joke and partly a joke because they're a combat fest.

You don't seem to be anywhere near the dice bouncing dungeon crawl nightmare gamer that springs to mind sometimes though. You don't sound as if you'd consider swapping In Character secrets over the table and Out of Character, for example.
13th-Feb-2003 03:55 pm (UTC) - In-depth role play vs. hack'n'slash
I have much the same sentiment as you, although I'm an American. Maybe it's just the fact that I spent almost half my life overseas. I really enjoy character interaction, problem solving, and atmosphere in my role-playing, rather than combat upon combat.

My current group has a nicely balanced campaign. There's an average of one or two encounters per 4-7 (or more) hour session, and sometimes we don't have any combat at all. At other times, we fight seven or eight battles in a row. When I DM, I naturally spend more time with storytelling, exploration, and puzzles than with combat, though I do throw a few in to give the hack'n'slash-oriented players something to do. I go for a Ravenloft feel, if not Ravenloft proper, anyway, and it's not a setting as condusive to kill/smash/destroy as, say, the Forgotten Realms.

In my years playing [A]D&D, I've noticed it's the older players/GMs (mid-twenties upwards) that focus on the role playing and the younger ones (teens/tweens) who go for more hack'n'slash. I can't say I've really seen such a noticable difference with gender, though the hack'n'slash-only types I've run across have tended to be male. I can't say anything about Europeans vs. Americans, really, however, as I haven't gamed with anyone from across the pond.
13th-Feb-2003 04:02 pm (UTC) - Re: In-depth role play vs. hack'n'slash
Interestingly enough the one hack'n'slash person I know is actually a girl. But then when about fifty percent of the roleplayers I know are girls I guess that's not such a big deal. And she even likes roleplaying - just not when it comes to D&D.
13th-Feb-2003 11:21 pm (UTC) - Re: In-depth role play vs. hack'n'slash
Girl gamer, speaking out.. rofl

I enjoy a good balance as much as anyone. I think most girls (including those I know) that are into hack-n-slash are like that because it gives them something of an outlet--to let their destructive sides take over. :) I know I'm like that, anyways.

We've found something, though, to take care of that problem in my gaming circle. We have normal RPGs -- D&D, Star Wars d20, and Deadlands. Then, once a month, we've got hack-n-slash night with a fairly new game, XCrawl. That's pretty much all that the game is good for, which is fine with us. The 'inner twink' comes out, and lets us all have fun with min/maxing and just killing things. Then, we go back to our regularly schedualed programming. :)
15th-Feb-2003 08:35 am (UTC)
the campaign I'm in now looks like it will going that same way, and it is great fun... except that the DM is reluctant to give exp. based on anything but combat
15th-Feb-2003 10:36 am (UTC)
Yes, we have a similar problem with experience. It's strange though, because I'm sure in 2E she gave out more experience for different things too. I can see why she wouldn't want to give out experience for pure talky sessions though, because it's not exactly like you can improve your skills through talking. And I suppose that if we were to complete noncombat based puzzles we'd get experience for that.
15th-Feb-2003 10:39 am (UTC)
I can see why she wouldn't want to give out experience for pure talky sessions though, because it's not exactly like you can improve your skills through talking.

true. but when the only cleric (me) spends a real time hour getting the temple in this town to accept us as allies... I think I deserve a little reward :)

still, I'm happy with the way it's going... after only one session I can't really tell, but I think it'll be role play intensive and I'm happy with that.
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