How does a low Strength stat translate into the narrative?

I’m having trouble with something. In a ADnD 2e campaign how should a low Strength translate into the narrative/roleplay of the campaign? It’s easy to figure out how high Strength would work when narrating or roleplaying, but I can’t quite figure out low Strength scores. I like to narrate what’s happening like a story with as much detail as I can to really paint a picture for the players. This is throwing a wrench into that.

For example, characters can end up with an effective Strength of 5 if they get hit by a ray of enfeeblement spell. Though the spell says what this means for game mechanics it states "Your DM will determine any other effects appropriate to the affected creature." and I’ve got no idea what sort of effects it may have. I know, according to the Player’s Handbook, that a Strength of 5 offers only a ten pound weight allowance with a twenty-five pounds Maximum Press so a fighter would likely end up dropping their weapon and shield but what about the armour they’re wearing or the other stuff they may be carrying? They can’t just drop that stuff so, what, can they just not move or something? What would a character with a Strength of 5 be capable of? How should a DM or Player portray such a character?

What would a character with a Strength of 1 be capable of? From a narrative stand-point, not just a mechanical one.

The BBEG wants to delay the party in the final battle… (narrative delay?)

I have thought of a few methods they might accomplish this. In this question, I am wondering about a potentially more controversial option. I am considering having them attempt to monologue or engage the PC’s in dialogue (e.g. offer for them to join his side, explain his plan, answer questions, etc) with a timer running, then increase the battle rounds based on the amount of time they were able to enthrall the PC’s with their speech.

I can see some problems with this:

  • I haven’t used this "on the clock" method before and the players may not recognize what’s happening (kind of the point?); I’ve loosely enforced limiting speech to your turn to maintain a suspension of disbelief
  • This could cause balance issues with planning the time depending on if they catch on quickly or not as all (see below)
  • It would require significant setup, coordinating clues that may let them read into what is happening while also maintaining a monologue
  • Our game is online, so it may be more difficult to implement this strategy

Some details about the campaign/fight (major spoilers for Paizo’s Ruins of Azlant AP)

The party will already be in initiative when they arrive in his area (they have to fight or bypass a couple ‘mooks’ before reaching him) but in our circle of gamers there is a precedent for NPC’s to interrupt combat rounds with speech. In this campaign, that even includes the players taking up another potential enemy’s offer of working together instead of fighting. In the past, however, it hasn’t been relevant that the clock continues moving.

My goal is to cost them a handful of rounds if they are willing to listen to the creature, who is manipulative by nature. I feel this is thematic but unlikely to make the difference in their success or failure in regards to the creature’s plan, but I think it would be an epic moment if it does (or comes down to the line).

Is this a bad idea? Has anyone had success doing something like this, and what was needed to pull it off?

Directly related to my question about doing it with spells.

Reminder: per "Good Subjective, Bad Subjective", to answer this question, one would either need direct experience using such a delay tactic or have experienced a GM doing so with them as a player.

Player abusing narrative freedom

I’m running a play-by-post homebrew game. The game is narrative-driven, so naturally I allow players to make up their own races, backstories, abilities etc., as long as they “don’t overdo it” (as I put it).

The problem is one player who doesn’t seem to get what “overdoing it” means. At first he wanted to make his player an all-out superhero, and I had to talk him down from it. This was no easy task. This guy is well-meaning, but he doesn’t seem to realize that this isn’t a single-player power fantasy.

I tried explaining to him that he would outshine the other players, and completely derail my plots, not to mention that the theme of my world is being tossed out the window.

My reasoning seemed to help at first, but now he want his character to be a god.
Literally. In a gritty, post-apocalyptic cyberpunk setting.

Part of the problem is that he’s not even asking; he’s building his own world, and just keeping me updated.

This puts me in an uncomfortable situation where I have to either bluntly veto his posts (and there sure are a lot of those…) or start negotiating with him.

He really means well, and I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I can’t let him keep this up.

So… any elegant way to put him in place?


Update:

I’m the sole GM.
There are 5 other players.
We are not part of another community.
It’s a forum, with major updates about once every two weeks with smaller updates in between.
I’m basically in command, but I announced from the start that players have freedom even to determine minor outcomes of their actions.

What’s a good resource to learn about advanced character and narrative development?

I’ve seen the “50 questions to ask yourself about your character” lists. Those are very helpful early on and I still use them after 10 years of roleplay.

I think I’d like to move into more advanced techniques. Things I can do as a player to wow other players. How to handle complicated situations like “I’m playing a god character who is extremely powerful, and I don’t know how to entice them since they already have everything”.

What would be a good resource for this?

What is the narrative difference between a Charisma and Wisdom saving throw?

Relatively few spells in D&D 5e require a Charisma saving throw, and when they do it’s often difficult to describe the in-game reasons for why they require such a throw.

One of my players told me that the Charisma saving throw for Banishment is essentially a check on the target’s sheer “force of will” to remain in their present plane.

This clashes with my understanding of what a Wisdom saving throw entails. I’ve always imagined that the Wisdom saving throws for spells like Geas and Dominate Person were also a check on the target’s “force of will”.

Is there any narrative explanation for the difference between a Charisma and Wisdom saving throw? What is the in-game difference between Wisdom and Charisma in terms of willpower?

If both saving throws are related to willpower, then why are they treated as distinct saving throws?


To clarify: I’m not interested in the gameplay differences between the two saving throws. Clearly they have different purposes in terms of balance. What I’m more concerned with is how they relate differently to willpower.

How to handle “I attack” during a peaceful narrative [duplicate]

This question already has an answer here:

  • How does attacking during a conversation affect initiative? 2 answers

Abdullah, Ben, and Caroline are talking to a Drow that they know may prove hostile. Abdullah and Ben are fine with seeing how the conversation goes, but Caroline doesn’t want to risk it. As the conversation proceeds, she interrupts the Drow (being narrated by me, the DM) by saying “I attack with my crossbow.”

Combat has clearly started, but how specifically?

  1. I imagine since the Drow was looking right at Caroline when she pulled the crossbow, they are not Surprised. Is this correct?

  2. How should initiative be handled? Should they all roll and turn order be established that way, or should Caroline be assumed to be at the top of the order, and have Abdullah, Ben, and the Drow roll to determine the rest of the order?

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