TOR and your RPG group -- problems, solutions?

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torus
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Re: TOR and your RPG group -- problems, solutions?

Post by torus » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:28 pm

Funny thing is, there's nothing in TOR that would stop you running an adventure where the party enters a ruined dwarf hold and clears it of goblins and other fell creatures, gathering treasure along the way. Nothing in the rules requires you to act out dialogues and narrate stories about your troubled childhood or your summer with Elrond.

I was initially put off TOR because I thought it was another one of those story games that caters for people who love putting on a funny voice and acting, and frankly, I find that side of RPGs boring. But I was wrong: TOR is actually a fairly traditional rpg, albeit with some innovative ideas, and with some scope for player narrative control if you want it, but it's not forced on you. For example even in non combat situations, you can make rolls to determine the outcome of social interaction, and essentially leave it at that with relatively little role playing if that's how you like it. Alternatively you can spend the whole session acting out the dialogue and have the roll be a formality.

So in other words I think the problem, if there is one, might not be with the game but rather that your preferred playing style differs from that of your fellows..

SurrenderMonkey
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Re: TOR and your RPG group -- problems, solutions?

Post by SurrenderMonkey » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:50 pm

torus wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:28 pm
So in other words I think the problem, if there is one, might not be with the game but rather that your preferred playing style differs from that of your fellows..
I take some of your points, but the differences between our TOR campaign and our D&D campaigns so far really don't have anything to do with acting or funny voices.

One interesting thing about TOR is how it takes the activities of NPC interaction ("encounters") and travelling ("journeys") and elevates them closer to the level of combats in terms of granularity and significance. Our TOR encounters don't include more funny voices, but they do include a lot more die rolls and record keeping.

On a broader level, I think TOR is more about interacting with the model of a narrative rather than that of an environment. I think this expressed in various ways, including the basic adventure/fellowship phase structure, and the way in which journey hazards tend to limit player agency in terms of their resolution (which can feel more like a choose-your-own adventure than a traditional RPG). Another way I feel this is born out is the way in which support NPCs like servants and companion animals are so highly abstracted, which makes them feel more to me like background characters in a story rather than beings populating the background of an environment. These are just a few examples that come immediately to come to mind, but my point is that the story-emphasis of the game for me is not at all about amateur theater hour, which I am not remotely interested in.

I think one could probably minimize the emphasis on these other aspects and focus on combat as you suggest, but I'm not sure that would be playing to the strengths of the system as I understand it. Happily, I can report that, a half-dozen sessions into our campaign, the game does seem to be holding the interest of my players quite well. :)

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Indur Dawndeath
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Re: TOR and your RPG group -- problems, solutions?

Post by Indur Dawndeath » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:02 am

SurrenderMonkey wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:50 pm
torus wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:28 pm
So in other words I think the problem, if there is one, might not be with the game but rather that your preferred playing style differs from that of your fellows..
the way in which journey hazards tend to limit player agency in terms of their resolution (which can feel more like a choose-your-own adventure than a traditional RPG). Another way I feel this is born out is the way in which support NPCs like servants and companion animals are so highly abstracted...
Your post got me thinking about Hazard episodes.
You can always spice up the Hazards in any way you want to make them more interesting.
How about if you decide the Hazard in secret and let the playes react to your decription. How will they deal with the problem?
I get your point, that if Hazards are reduced to a series of die rolls, then that may become less interesting as it is repeated over and over again.
As for support NPC’s, why not devellop them and use them in your game, as if they were normal NPC’s?
One game to rule them all: TOR

SurrenderMonkey
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:31 pm

Re: TOR and your RPG group -- problems, solutions?

Post by SurrenderMonkey » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:30 am

Actually, my analysis wasn’t intended to be critical of the game. I definitely like the way support NPCs are abstracted, and don’t mind the degree to which hazard episodes limit player agency in order to support a kind of narrative mode (player agency is still preserved in most situations). I was just trying to explain some of the ways in which I think TOR is different from our usual fare — but in a good way!

torus
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:29 pm

Re: TOR and your RPG group -- problems, solutions?

Post by torus » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:21 am

SurrenderMonkey wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:50 pm

One interesting thing about TOR is how it takes the activities of NPC interaction ("encounters") and travelling ("journeys") and elevates them closer to the level of combats in terms of granularity and significance. Our TOR encounters don't include more funny voices, but they do include a lot more die rolls and record keeping.

On a broader level, I think TOR is more about interacting with the model of a narrative rather than that of an environment. I think this expressed in various ways, including the basic adventure/fellowship phase structure, and the way in which journey hazards tend to limit player agency in terms of their resolution (which can feel more like a choose-your-own adventure than a traditional RPG). Another way I feel this is born out is the way in which support NPCs like servants and companion animals are so highly abstracted, which makes them feel more to me like background characters in a story rather than beings populating the background of an environment. These are just a few examples that come immediately to come to mind, but my point is that the story-emphasis of the game for me is not at all about amateur theater hour, which I am not remotely interested in.
These are good points - I agree!

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