Now I am Game Mastering Mutant Future and my player-girlfriends starts to understand the gist. She can do stuffz and doesn't have to rely on character skills and knowledge (as there is none). Also she starts to be really suspicious about encounters and tries to evade them (got beaten by HD6 Zunicorns pretty bad). At first I think she thought that if I put an encounter on her that's something she is supposed to fight. Now she understands that it doesn't work that way.
Last time we played went like this:
She talked to one person and then saw movement in another direction and decided to turn and check it out.
The person she talked to now behind her back decided to attack her and from the inside one guy heavily armed (melee) ran out and someone climbed upstairs. She attacked the guy behind her incapacitating him (HP to 0 doesn't mean someone necessarily dies but is out of action in my games). Then she started to fight the armored guy but from the upstairs that third guy started to shoot her with a rifle.
The fight could have been roll d20 to win person attacking me directly then go to roll d20 to kill the next opponent...
Even though her character did very good fighting the armored guy and the guy above didn't hit her with his rifle only after two rounds player decided that it is too risky to fight this way (in MF her 1st level character has 50 HP so it's not as risky compared to D&D and other clones). She didn't check her character sheet what she could try to do with best probability to success (as she usually would do and for inspiration from skill names) but she told that she takes cover behind the incapacitated dude.
That solved the situation. The guy upstairs didn't want to shoot anymore and risk to hit his comrade and the guy with an armor couldn't attack as player's character had an advantage to kill his hostage in addition to the risk hitting his comrade.
This combat wasn't only rolling d20 to see if someone hits nor it was using character sheet's skills and some die check to resolve the problem. Nope. It was player's actions.
The point is, that in Mutant Future (as an example of OSR game here) there are no skills. There is a suggestion that if Game Master wants a die check for a character activity he can rule player to roll d20 below ability (climb a tree d20 below DEX for example). My player is used to:
- Describe what his character does and then wait if any skill roll is needed
- Check her character sheet for inspiration what skill roll or action she could use, then the above
- Ask Game Master what she could do in he situation and possibly the aboves
So I think this is a great improvement in roleplaying skill here. Naturally she has always known that characters can do anything but thanks to other games there's always been skills involved even though the roll isn't needed (easy enough for character for example). Now she doesn't have that skills list to rely on in Mutant Future, so everything her character does is up to her only.
If she decides to stand still and hit rolling d20's that's ok, but she has found out that is not good option to fight. Even if there are no special combat manouvres or other combat actions to choose from it doesn't mean you cannot do special actions. Actually special actions are encouraged in OSR (as far as I understand it). Especially in games where you roll for HD. 50% change to get hit and 50% change to die from damage, you don't want to roll d20 in turns with GM and just see who wins this gamble.
This is great in OSR games (Mutant Future and LotFP in my experience). When there is a possibility for a combat or other hazardous scene player first starts to think how to outwit or get around it.
Side note: World of Darkness games (Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling etc.) are Storytelling games. Yes, the system is called that. But why the fuck in a Storytelling game there are more rules than in d20 retro games? Tell me that!