In a previous post I talked about the utility of a having a high charisma as a paladin. Several people asked how I handle using attributes and skill in play.
In the 30 years I been roleplaying I experienced various methods of handling character abilities and skills Which one works for you will depend on what your goals for the game as a whole. For me it is about immersion, making my players feel that their characters are part of a living breathing and interesting world.
By doing this I hope to do two things elicit "natural" reactions to the situations the characters find themselves in, and to engage the "soap opera" effect where the player want to play the next session just to see what happens next. The way I handle attributes and skills has been honed serve the first goal, to keep the game flowing as natural as possible.
It actually quite similar to one of the techniques described in the Old School Primer by Matt Finch. The players state or roleplay what they are doing and the referee makes a ruling. The main difference between the Old School Primer and myself is that I don't solely rely on the ability of the player to come up with the smallest of details.
I almost never allow a roll without an accompanying description of what being done or the player roleplaying what his character does. What I am looking for is what the player considers are the issues of the character's pending action. Not whether they included every detail. The success of the attribute or skill roll is what determine whether the details are correctly executed. By doing this you can have players roleplay characters vastly different than themselves.
Note that this is not the same as deciding if the players are doing the right things as their characters for the situation. They could execute everything perfectly i.e. make all their rolls but given the circumstances it would the wrong thing to do.
For example the player roleplaying the Paladin decides to distract the Bounty Hunter with some pleasant conversation. In the course of roleplaying the paladin player mention about he just come from the Dwarven Hold and how he had a great time in. Not knowing that the Bounty Hunter despises dwarves. Now the rest of the conversation is pretty much shot even if the paladin makes all his rolls. I would give the player some type of warning and an opportunity to recover as it would be natural for a high charisma individual to pick that maybe talking about dwarves is not a good idea. But if the player misses my cue then that will be that.
More on the Temple of Elemental Evil
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