June 13th, 2007

Rawkin Chewbawkin

Favorite NPCs?

Another query designed to fill in the dull spaces of my fruitless work day.

Who was/is your favorite NPC, either one you created as GM, or encountered as a player? A little blurb about setting and what made the character unique is encouraged.

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Rawkin Chewbawkin

Common Threads?

A corollary to the previous query, is there any element that you tend to reuse in all the campaigns you run as a gamemaster, or in the characters you play as a player, something that has, for whatever reason, become an ingrained part of your gaming style?

For example, one friend of mine had a franchise of taverns in every major city in every game he's run called The Half Orc's Bloody Left Testicle, which was slightly higher class than Mom's.

And every bartender was named Bob.

Conflict Resolution vs. Task Resolution

A question for the crowd: What do you all think of Conflict Resolution mechanics as compared to Task Resolution mechanics?

Let's define some terms:

Imagine you're playing a Western genre game, and two players walk out into the street for a gunfight. A Task Resolution game would handle this by having the players roll the dice to determine whether or not individual shots hit, and how much damage is done by each bullet. Eventually one character or the other runs out of hit points, and that's how you tell who wins.

A Conflict Resolution system, on the other hand, uses the dice to determine, more or less up front, who walks away and who dies in the dust. Details about how much damage the winner takes, whether or not bystanders are shot, and if our winner has any bullets left when the loser's friends come out of the saloon are determined by (for instance) comparing the players' rolls. No real effort is given to individual shots or tactical maneuvers.

D&D is a task resolution system, of course, as is Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, Serenity, and most classic games. Hero Quest, Dust Devils, Dogs in the Vineyard, and Don't Rest Your Head are all conflict resolution systems.

Let's ignore for the moment the fact that many of the conflict resolution games are indie games, and that many of them do other things that are sometimes controversial.

So, what do you all think? If you haven't played both types, what's your gut impression? If you have, what's your experience?