Confession

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Confession

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:16 pm

So this is a bit of a rant. It's not intended as a request for anything to be changed, and it's certainly not meant as any kind of complaint against you. It's just something that bugs me about the 40k systems, and I needed to get it off my chest.

So.

I don't like the mechanic of mental disorders. I'm not even entirely sold on mutations.

I don't like the way that it takes characterisation out of my hands in favour of giving it over to a random number generator. I enjoy playing the descent into madness because I enjoy exploring the way that stressors and life-changing events alter a character in meaningful and characterful ways. Randomly generated disorders are neither meaningful nor characterful. They bear no relation to the nature of the character, and they bear no relation to what I as a player might want to play. I don't enjoy having control of my characters' personalities taken away from me. It feels like the game system is saying "So maybe you were having fun playing that character, but now you have to play this different character instead."

I don't like that it's something that happens broadly at random, and that I have essentially no room to control or mitigate it. I have deliberately statted high willpower characters in the hope of not having to deal with this stuff, but there's no getting away from it.

I also don't like that many of the disorders turn characters into nonsensical caricatures, rather than people with depth and nuance. The book describes them as "small mental tics" but they really aren't. They are overwhelming alterations of personality, for the most part. Mutations have a similar problem. I want to play cool and interesting characters, according to the vision I have for them in my head. It feels a bit like "playing to win", but I don't think it should be shameful to want one's characters to be cool. The point of the game is to have fun. But then the whim of the dice inflicts random alterations, and suddenly your character has no head, or whatever. In most circumstances, having no head is not cool, it's dopey and bizarre.

When it comes down to it, I don't like the game taking control of my characters' fundamental natures away from me. I don't find it fun. Getting a mutation or a disorder frequently leaves me wondering whether I want to play that character any more.

It's not a deal-breaker. By signing up to these games, I agree to play by the rules, even if I don't like all of them. Again, this is nothing against you, and it's not a request for change. It's just something that upsets me a bit, and I felt like I ought to bring it up rather than just sitting on it and feeling bad. I feel like it's part of my obligation as a player to share with the GM when I'm uncomfortable, even if sharing also makes me uncomfortable. So I hope it's okay that I've shared.

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Re: Confession

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:01 pm

Hey Eleanor, thanks for letting me know. I'm glad you decided to bring it up rather than sitting on it.

Firstly, mutations. I would defend the mechanic as quite reflective of the chaotic nature of the warp. Though there are some mutations which appear simply comical (and I share your distaste for them) I hope that the use of Infamy largely avoids your vision for the character being fundamentally changed. I also like that the subtlety of the character is compromised as they become seeped in sin. I think there is a cost benefit analysis involved, and I think I would downplay the costs when it comes to mutation when compared to your evaluation, as it in practice is influenced by the player with infamy. In short, I understand your opinions and respect them, but I think we disagree on certain matters of degree.

Secondly, disorders. I'm very sympathetic to what you are saying. I think Dark Heresy probably does disorders better in allowing some choice involved. I like there being some mechanical cost to insanity - it shouldn't be something that can be ignored when the times get tough, it should have the potential to be debilitating at a bad time. However, I have no love for the tables in the Black Crusade rulebook. They are too extreme, there's not enough options and it isn't tailored to the character.

I know you haven't requested a change, but I feel like one could be justified for Disorders. If you're ok with it, I'm going to open a Thread on the Game Mechanics Forum asking what other players think about it. In the meantime, we will say that characters with Mental Disorders are unaffected, but that we remember how many Disorders they have if and when the mechanics are replaced with something else. Sound good?

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Re: Confession

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:03 pm

We can chalk up some of Marina's recent actions, with you roleplaying the disorders, as a more temporary effect of shock.

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Re: Confession

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:36 pm

Mutations, I am more okay with. I'm not mad keen on the way it works, but there are quite a lot of mitigating factors, as you've mentioned, and it doesn't bother me in the same way as disorders.

I'm definitely okay with you opening a discussion (although I'm not sure to what extent the other two look at the OOC boards).

Marina's disorders aren't too bad. I didn't feel hugely screwed over, but it just reminded me how much I hate the mechanic in general. I'd certainly be more keen for them to be issues that crop up when she's under stress, rather than always-on deals, but I can accept whatever you choose on that front.

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Re: Confession

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:37 pm

Yeah. I am also keen on Disorders having a more Situational aspect. I'm opening up the thread now, and I'll facebook message Olli and Wren to make sure that they see it.

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