How to quantify importance of a decision to a player, and more tangibly maintain narrative balance thereof?

In accordance with the suggestion, I’m asking this different, broader question than my previous one, in relation to the same problem.

Situations in Which Problems Occur

Many times, a group needs to pick one out of several contradictory or even mutually exclusive courses of events or actions. This can involve PCs deciding between multiple things to do based on their personal values and motivations, or players deciding which plot would be more interesting to play (especially with more shared-storytelling types of campaigns), or even choices that span both the IC and OOC decision (such as when PC motivations reflect player interests).

Which of the choices is taken seems to have a major effect on the narrative, so such decision-making moments can easily be as or even more important that the ‘mainline’ mechanics of a game (and than the corresponding mechanical balance).

The Main Part of the Problem

For an N-sized group of players (GM being distinct from players), IME it is common for one player when N>=3, or sometimes even two players out if N==5, to be proportionally underrepresented in terms of narrative balance, i.e. getting significantly less than 1/N ‘weight’ in terms of influencing the narrative (again, both in cases where influencing the narrative happens through purely IC decisions, and when meta-influencing the narrative through OOC suggestions and the like). This seems to be occurring whenever 2-3 players and/or characters have a similar preferences that lean in a direction opposite of some other player.

The Secondary Part of the Problem

There is a factor which also aggravates it is that the underrepresented member may not be able to get proportional influence even on subjectively more important issues to the player/character. Inability to have stronger narrative weight in a personally-subjectively more important issue can be a drawback to everyone, but it seems to be more unfun when one already has reduced influence.

What Outcome Would Be Preferable

It would be nice to maintain a proportional narrative balance. E.g. in an N==5 party, for each party member to have a roughly 20% weight of influencing the narrative on average. It would also be nice to have the personal importance of an issue be evaluated and quantified, and to make a participant get higher influence with more important issues and lower influence with less important ones (but in a way that doesn’t allow just claiming that all issues are super-important). Given the failures experienced with other solutions (below), I’m seeking a solution that is tangible, actionable, enforceable.

A Solution Considered But Not Tried

I have considered a bidding mechanic (and asked about it in the previous question), but did not get a chance to try it out.

Unsatisfactory Solutions

I have witnessed or been part of (as a player) or personally tried (as a GM) several unstructured solutions and have found them wanting.

  • ‘Just talk about it’. Probably the vaguest / least informative of the advice ever given for the problem, and most unstructured. Also tried out the most. And IME, it shares some characteristics of UN GA: an issue is raised, people express their deep concern, a consensus and joint resolution are seemingly reached, but then later things keep happening the way they did, and people start saying how they understood the joint consensus differently, or forgot, or broke it unintentionally, or ‘that was agreed under different circumstances which no longer apply’ or or many others that are not as well remembered. End result: a lot of wasted time and effort, but increased frustration. Essentially the solution fails because it isn’t really actionable or enforceable in the long term (and not even necessarily due to malice!). Also, IME people pushing for this solution seem to have a tendency to do that in a very condescending and uninformative way.

  • ‘Vote on it’. Less insidiously frustrating than just talking, but also largely ineffective, because it means that, for example, for N==4, having 50% of the vote (2 members with matching preferences) tends to result in having 100% of the influence in most situations with multiple choices. Also, totally fails to differentiate levels of personal subjective importance of issues.

  • ‘Spend 30 minutes on each player/character at a time, and start over when you run out of players’. Mixed results. It gives everyone a proportional activity time, which mitigates the worst possible outcome of outright sitting in a corner . . . but not even always that (I have seen cases where the overall direction of the campaign results in the underrepresented player just not having anything to do when the turn comes). It also tends lead to a split party (either partially or completely) for its duration, making it so that, for example, for N==2, the similar-preference duo gets their 60 minutes of working together and getting chances for fun interactions, while the underrepresented one gets 30 minutes of solo activity. The duo working together can still get a disproportionately higher influence on the overall campaign narrative.


I’m interested in trying out solutions other than the ones I have tried and found wanting, as well as any advice about implementations thereof. Could you help me with that?

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Hey there,
I was scammed on Paypal upon a transaction for a digital item. Now I am in 2k negative balance. I am in country Georgia, it is a third world country. Will they be able to come after me? They have my kinda real info. They have my first and last name and probably an ID number, I don't remember if I indicated that.
Any replies would be highly appreciated!

How can a group use bidding mechanics to maintain narrative balance and quantify the importance of various choices?


Pretext

Many times, a group needs to pick one out of several contradictory or even mutually exclusive courses of events or actions. This can involve PCs deciding between multiple things to do based on their personal values and motivations, or players deciding which plot would be more interesting to play (especially with more shared-storytelling types of campaigns), or even choices that span both the IC and OOC decision (such as when PC motivations reflect player interests).

Which of the choices is taken seems to have a major effect on the narrative, so such decision-making moments can easily be as or even more important that the ‘mainline’ mechanics of a game (and than the corresponding mechanical balance).

Why I’m Unhappy with Using Simple Voting

A simple approach to such decision making process is a direct democracy – one man, one vote. However, this tends to amplify differences in preferences as observed over the long term. E.g., if out of four players and PCs, two tend prefer a sneaking approach, one a social approach, and one a head-on combat approach, then ten out of ten encounters will be handled in a sneaking fashion, meaning that with 50% of the vote, the sneaky duo gets 100% of the ‘most fun approach’ (from their PoV), while the other two players and their PCs account for the other 50% of the vote yet get 0% of the preferred approach.

A second drawback of such simple direct voting is that even if everyone’s preferences are stable and known, different issues can still be of different importance to different people. E.g., the social one may really want to handle the encounter with the imperial satrap civilly, but be much more willing to accept a brute force solution or an assassination when it comes to dealing with the local pirate captain. Yet simple, separate voting on each issue fails to account for such nuance.

Some would say: ‘Then negotiate, like people in a parliament!’ That’s an improvement over simple voting . . . in theory. However, I want to reduce the forgetting and bending often associated with promises and negotiations in practice. For that, I’m seeking a way to use bidding mechanics to quantify the relative value of a given choice to a given player and/or character, adding structure and transparency to such negotiations.

Bidding Mechanics as Currently Envisioned

All long-term participants of group expected to repeatedly need to make decisions (be they players or characters) are assigned an equal pool of points. Let’s say 10 to each participant (or 100 to each – so long as it’s the same number). When the group encounters the metaphorical fork in the road, participants can take points from their pools and ‘deposit’ them into a ‘box’ that corresponds to a given decision, with the expectation that the choice whose ‘box’ has most points ‘wins’.

This way, a person who doesn’t feel strongly about a decision can spend few or no points, saving them up to have a stronger influence in some hypothetical future decision which is subjectively more important. Conversely, someone who feels really strongly about a given decision can contribute a lot to make the party pick it now, and sacrificing influence in the future.

Finally, the pool of points is meant to gradually regenerate – e.g. by 20% of the starting pool for every major fork in the road encountered. There may or may not be a cap on the maximum accumulated number of points.

Nuances I’m Unsure About

There are some things about the process that can be handled differently, and I’m not sure about all the pros and cons of each way of doing things. I will write some that I did notice, but I would like to know of any I may be missing, and possibly of implications I may be missing.

  • Are everyone’s bids openly visible, or only revealed after all the bids have been cast. Single-round closed bids seem to be fastest, but also most prone to mind games, which is a reduction of transparency.
  • Are points spent on a choice that was ‘defeated’ by another choice forfeit or refunded. Refunds intuitively seem likely to produce a ‘pendulum’ effect, but forfeits seem to encourage all-or-nothing bidding.
  • Are there multiple rounds of bidding. Obviously these don’t make sense for closed bids. Still, single-round also encourages all-or-nothing bidding, while multi-round risks making the process take too much time.
  • What is the ratio between the starting pool, the pool regeneration rate, and the maximum storable number of points in the pool (or lack thereof). I’m understanding that the regeneration rate should be roughly comparable to the arithmetically average expected importance of a choice, and suspect that for the smoothest performance the starting pool value should be half maximum value. But are there any reasons to prefer a given ratio of starting/max pool to average choice value/regeneration? Intuitively an uncapped pool seems dangerous due to the potential for hoarding, but is that so – or is it easily made to be self-correcting by other feature switches? Are there other upsides or downsides of a given size of the pool cap or lack thereof?

I’m currently thinking that the best setup is open multi-round bidding, and leaning towards refunding losing-choice points.

What Answers I Seek

I’m in search of more insights on the pros and cons of various configurations of the bidding subsystem, or reasons for picking specific combinations of features. I’m also interested in learning mathematical/mechanical techniques that I may be unaware of that would be helpful in my pursuit of a more quantified, more transparent approach to nuanced and proportional decision making.

I’m not looking for vague ideas without mechanical techniques. I’m also not looking for ‘just talk like humans’ kind of dismissive answers. Arguments to give up on the bidding approach entirely should be based not on emotions, but on pointing out how it would overall be worse than the simple majority approach that is often a default in roleplaying groups (whether IC and OOC).

Setting the right white balance value

As I understand White Balancing means – making a particular color look as it should have been irrespective of what color the Ambient Light is. i.e A white paper must look white not blueish grey(cool) or orangeish(hot).

So when taking a photo on my DSLR, what I see from the View Finder is same as what my eye naturally sees. However the final photos don’t look good.

I assure you I am having the other settings fine.

As for the White Balance none of the following works perfectly:

  • Auto – In which case it is quite ordinary
  • Preset – Again it does not serve the purpose of making the colors look as they were supposed to
  • Manual – If i am actually setting a color temperature such that a white object looks white to someone who looks at the photo taken, then the other things in the photo looks back. Basically the photo is ruined all together.

So my question is

What should I use as a rule to get it right?

Because when I checked few of the videos on Youtube – They mostly start at a certain value, take the photo, check it and keep increasing or decreasing the temperature and stop at a place where they feel it is right or best (I have no idea how to know what is best)

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How can I mechanically balance a PC being permanently blind?

One of my players, playing a Dex/Cha-based bard, wants his character to be completely blind.

I like to let them play whatever they feel enjoyable, even though I’d like to find out how to make it not too impeding as a disability.

The obvious effect for the character would be having the blinded state permanently on him.
That state makes you fail all checks that require sight and have disadvantage attacking enemies, and gives enemies advantage on attacks against you.

The first effect is obvious. The second, though, is too strong to be always there. My first instinct is to let him have the capability of avoiding this penalizer, since he’d learned to fight blinded. That, combined with the fact that he roleplays his blindness, seems fair enough, but I’d like to share it with rpg.SE community to check how to handle the situation.

So, how do I balance the PC so that he’s still viable to play with the rest of the group and still have the character flaw?