Reverb Gamers 2012, #18 & #19

Category: Cussin' In Tongues
Created on Thursday, 19 January 2012 Written by Steve

REVERB GAMERS 2012, #18: Have you ever "cheated" on a die roll/random chance outcome, or looked up a quest solution on a fan site? Why or why not? If yes, was it worth it? (Courtesy of Atlas Games. Visit them at www.atlas-games.com)

Have I ever cheated on a roll? Well sure. I'm reasonably sure that if I could dig up some of my old D&D characters, many of them would have statistically improbably stats. Is it something I do regularly or have done recently as a player? No. These days, I'm used to playing with GMs who don't let the dice get in the way of things and don't require pointless rolls. If success or failure aren't equally interesting options story-wise, there's really no point in bothering with the dice.* As a GM, of course, I cheat a lot. Usually in the players' favor.

I don't play a lot of video games, but when I can't solve something I'll look up the solution on a fan site, especially if I need to complete a quest to continue the game. Since there's no GM to push you in the right direction if you're missing something, there's really not a lot of other options if you want to keep playing. Tabletop-wise, I remember a couple of us sneaking a peak at the Temple of Elemental Evil module we were playing through once or twice when I was in high school, but that's about it.

Was it worth it? For the old fake die rolls/reading the module, it's hard to say since it was so long ago and such a completely different kind of gaming than what I'm used to today. Since most of those were pretty standard dungeon crawls, I suspect the only effect the cheating had was on how many rolls it took to kill each monster. On the video game front, it's not so much a "worth it" thing as a "necessary to keep playing" thing. In a lot of cases, though, I've found that most of those solutions require such a convoluted series of actions that I never would have figured them out on my own, which makes them bad puzzles, IMO. As a GM, cheating is always worth it as long as it makes for a better game.

*With the exception of convention/demo games, where requiring a few more rolls than usual helps show off the game system.

REVERB GAMERS 2012, #19: What's the weirdest character you've ever played? How did you end up with him/her/it? 

This is another one where the sheer number of characters I've played over the years makes it hard to think of a good answer. From an "unusual for RPGs" standpoint, it would probably be Erik, my armadillo fratboy from Toon or General George S. Pony ("Old Glitter and Guts") from Laser Ponies, since drunk armadillos and magical ponies aren't very common RPG archetypes. But, of course, they both make perfect sense and really aren't that strange in context.

As far as weird personalities/backgrounds/whatever, I suspect some of the characters I've mentioned in previous posts would qualify depending on your definition of weird. I'm sure there are others as well, since we used to use the Central Casting books (ignoring the odd right-wing garbage) in some of our games, and those come up with some really weird-ass stuff. The biggest problem with those books was that they had a tendency to create characters that had so many different random weird traits that they were completely unplayable. These days I tend to go for a strong central concept with a few quirks and twists, since in most cases piling on the weird is more likely to lead to a random collection of disjointed thoughts rather than a believable character.

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Reverb Gamers 2012, #18 & #19.
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