Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

D&D 5e Discussion

16465676970122

Posts

  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    Jesus, what the hell is with this blog though?

    http://community.wizards.com/dndnext/blog/2012/04/27/tone_and_edition

    'I don't like certain races so I want to make an in rules way of excluding them.'

    What a waste of time. Give us all the options and let the DM decide what exists in his game. What benefit there would be to codifying this in a non campaign setting context is beyond me.

    I tried to ignore it, but they seem resolute on forcing the idea of common, uncommon, and rare races through. I understand he doesn't like tieflings and dragonborn. Man up and tell your players "hey guys, no tieflings or dragonborn in this game ok."

  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    Nealneal wrote: »
    Can we talk about this blog post?

    Completely against my better judgement, I am actually in love with the idea at the end of the post. Basically, that Feats could be for Combat things, Skills could be for Exploration things, and some new mechanic could handle Social stuff.

    The trick is balancing those three categories of options. If you put them all in one bucket and players choose from the bucket every N levels, some characters would get nerfed in combat if they picked all social feats, so their players always go for stuff that keeps them alive. If you let them choose one of each each level, that flies in the face of the whole simple game thing they seem to be going with, or you let players skip the choice and you go back to the nerfing. If you break it up so it's feats every N%3 levels, skills N%3+1, traits N%3+2, you run the risk of drawing things out too much and reducing the overall impact of the choices (because you make so few of them from any one category).

    It comes down to a design decision that they obviously haven't made yet. I personally think option 2 or 3 is the best depending on how they want things to feel (so they'll probably go with 1 and ruin the idea).
    Nealneal wrote: »
    Jesus, what the hell is with this blog though?

    http://community.wizards.com/dndnext/blog/2012/04/27/tone_and_edition

    'I don't like certain races so I want to make an in rules way of excluding them.'

    What a waste of time. Give us all the options and let the DM decide what exists in his game. What benefit there would be to codifying this in a non campaign setting context is beyond me.

    I tried to ignore it, but they seem resolute on forcing the idea of common, uncommon, and rare races through. I understand he doesn't like tieflings and dragonborn. Man up and tell your players "hey guys, no tieflings or dragonborn in this game ok."

    Part of me thinks that they have just wholly misinterpreted the feedback that 5e should be easy to run, and thus concluded that all of this kind of thing needs to be figured out by the rules.

    3DS: 2466-2307-8384 PSN: bssteph Steam: bsstephan Twitch: bsstephan
    Tabletop:13th Age (mm-mmm), D&D 4e
    Occasional words about games: my site
  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2012
    I think the feat system works fine for what it does. There are certainly choices more optimal than others, but that's a situational claim. A RP heavy game with little combat is not going to get as much mileage out of a feat like Power attack versus some skill focus feat.

    Compartmentalizing feats to combat, skills to exploration, and social stuff to some other system seems unnecessary within the D20 framework.

    Vanguard on
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    The D&D system does not really by nature lead to an RP heavy game with little combat though. RP heavy maybe, but combat is a central part of core D&D. You are expected to get in fights a lot and that's what 90% of the rules are about.

    Jam Warrior on
    TingleSigBar.gif
    WiiU: JamWarrior
  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    Wait @Vanguard ...you said you've never played 4e and that you're not fond Pathfinder/3.x. Then you say the feat system works just fine? How would you know how well it does or doesn't work in practice in 4e if you've never played it?

  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Nealneal wrote: »
    Wait @Vanguard ...you said you've never played 4e and that you're not fond Pathfinder/3.x. Then you say the feat system works just fine? How would you know how well it does or doesn't work in practice in 4e if you've never played it?

    The problems I have with 3.5 and Pathfinder are not related to the feat system. I think there is so much math involved that running a game to high levels becomes an exercise in tedium, as combats simply take far too long if they're designed to challenge the players or are too easy if they're designed to be quick.

    Did the 4E feat system change that much in 4E? I can't remember at the moment. I know you get them at even levels, as opposed to odd ones.

  • AntimatterAntimatter if you want to talk to me look elsewhere.Registered User regular
    Jesus, what the hell is with this blog though?

    http://community.wizards.com/dndnext/blog/2012/04/27/tone_and_edition

    'I don't like certain races so I want to make an in rules way of excluding them.'

    What a waste of time. Give us all the options and let the DM decide what exists in his game. What benefit there would be to codifying this in a non campaign setting context is beyond me.
    chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiist.

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    I feel a bit frustrated, because the points and questions I and a couple of others have made about the links between theme/fluff and mechanics have been completely ignored in order to restate the opinion that they're not linked.

    I mean, using FATE as an example of how theme and system are unrelated is amazing to me. Fudge dice cluster around zero very tightly, so you have to get bonuses from elsewhere to really be effective. And those bonuses are usually from Aspects, which are defined at character creation. So in these mechanics, Who You Are matters much more than What You Do, which is theme/fluff.

    It just seems to me that people are saying 'Nah they're the same' when they're obviously not.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    Well, at least he fully cops to being an unreasonable person making an unreasonable suggestion in his blog post.

    But it's these sorts of blog posts that make me wary of their "modular" approach. Instead of saying "We're playing D&D, but no Tieflings, no Dragonborn, and no Primal classes," now we'll have to say "We're playing D&D with the Martial, Arcane, Shadow, Elemental, Divine, and Psionic class modules, the Feat module, the Basic and Intermediate Skills modules, the Core and Uncommon race modules, the Inherent Bonus module, the Gridded Combat System module, the Expanded Weapon Statistics module, the Advanced Combat module, and the Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Artifact Items modules."

    Yay for being so much easier to run!

  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Denada wrote: »
    Well, at least he fully cops to being an unreasonable person making an unreasonable suggestion in his blog post.

    But it's these sorts of blog posts that make me wary of their "modular" approach. Instead of saying "We're playing D&D, but no Tieflings, no Dragonborn, and no Primal classes," now we'll have to say "We're playing D&D with the Martial, Arcane, Shadow, Elemental, Divine, and Psionic class modules, the Feat module, the Basic and Intermediate Skills modules, the Core and Uncommon race modules, the Inherent Bonus module, the Gridded Combat System module, the Expanded Weapon Statistics module, the Advanced Combat module, and the Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Artifact Items modules."

    Yay for being so much easier to run!

    More importantly, who decides what modules are getting included? I'm weary of a system that gives so much power to the DM. Sure, ultimately, it should be his decision, but you know what I like? When my players are happy and get to play what they want. If that means compromising on both sides, all the better.

    @poshniallo I feel similarly and remain unconvinced they're not. No one has taken the time to say anything other than, "No, you're wrong," which isn't a very compelling argument.

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    Vanguard wrote: »
    More importantly, who decides what modules are getting included? I'm weary of a system that gives so much power to the DM. Sure, ultimately, it should be his decision, but you know what I like? When my players are happy and get to play what they want. If that means compromising on both sides, all the better.

    I agree, and that makes me even more wary, because now everyone needs to understand every module and how they interact with each other just to decide on what kind of D&D they're going to play, rather than an inclusive system which assumes all things are part of the game and only requires targeted exceptions. If their goal is to make D&D easier to run and play, they're not going to achieve that goal with modularity, unless that modularity is so broad that it's essentially the same thing it's always been (a core game with expansions).

  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    When you provide a concrete example of fluff that cannot be seperated from mechanics, then we'll talk. Until then, you're doing nothing but saying "Uh uh, you're wrong!" in response. The D20 system has always been designed in a way to allow manymanymany different themes and fluff on top of the bare mechanics to allow the players at home the freedom to play the game they want to play. Some systems aren't designed this way you might say. You might offer Paradox in Mage: The Ascension as a mechanic that cannot be seperated from the fluff. I would say "Not true good sir," for in my home game it was used in a way more akin to soul-scarring than reality backslapping you for casting magic. Same mechanic, completely different feel/theme/fluff.

  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Vanguard wrote: »
    I think the feat system works fine for what it does. There are certainly choices more optimal than others, but that's a situational claim. A RP heavy game with little combat is not going to get as much mileage out of a feat like Power attack versus some skill focus feat.

    This model requires the DM knowing what kind of game they're going to run, the DM telling the players, the players being on board, and the DM never changing their mind mid-stream. Which can happen. The thing about D&D though is that there's pretty much two modes to it: all combat all the time, and combat with some interaction/socialization/whatever. So either way, the combat feat is almost always a safe choice, and that elbows out the other options.

    I mean, even if you're in an RP-heavy game, what are you going to take, a feat that gives you a bonus to defenses, or a feat that lets you speak more languages? Sure the language thing may come up, but it's not like your failure to speak primordial means you have a better chance of dying every session. You can take the languages feat but the opportunity cost is a lot higher than if you just take the bonus to defenses and go "no hablo titan".
    Denada wrote: »
    Vanguard wrote: »
    More importantly, who decides what modules are getting included? I'm weary of a system that gives so much power to the DM. Sure, ultimately, it should be his decision, but you know what I like? When my players are happy and get to play what they want. If that means compromising on both sides, all the better.

    I agree, and that makes me even more wary, because now everyone needs to understand every module and how they interact with each other just to decide on what kind of D&D they're going to play, rather than an inclusive system which assumes all things are part of the game and only requires targeted exceptions. If their goal is to make D&D easier to run and play, they're not going to achieve that goal with modularity, unless that modularity is so broad that it's essentially the same thing it's always been (a core game with expansions).

    Jesus christ yes. The best move I ever made as a DM was recognizing that 4e let me not care about micromanaging the game and/or every character's details, and just say "if it's in the CB you can take it, with the only exception being really esoteric setting-specific options, and even then I'll probably just mull it over for five minutes and decide I don't give a fuck and let you take it".

    Edit: and even if I wanted less stuff, it's easier to start with a giant set of balanced material and remove it, than start from zero and figure out what gets voted in. But yes, in my opinion paramount is letting the players play what they want.

    That's the ultimate problem with the "game" being a bunch of modules. If a point is reached that each iteration has different modules and thus feels different, it's not going to unify a fucking thing. It's going to be like the old days where each group had their own binder of D&D Our Way and none of that info transferred between groups.

    bss on
    3DS: 2466-2307-8384 PSN: bssteph Steam: bsstephan Twitch: bsstephan
    Tabletop:13th Age (mm-mmm), D&D 4e
    Occasional words about games: my site
  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    @Nealneal

    There were two different arguments in this whole mess of discussion:

    1) Mechanics can/cannot be separated from the fluff

    2) Mechanics can/cannot add to the fluff

    Generally, the consensus on the first one has been that they absolutely can. Sure, whatever.

    Many people have said that the second one can be true, but then insert the first argument to disprove it. This is SJs, "Mechanics can add to the fluff, but I could just as well change the names of everything and make a system for farming, because they're not linked."

    This is what I've been arguing against. My example with the Steel test shows that the design decision absolutely did flavor the game. The counterpoint to this was that the fluff came first and that it was more accurate to say it influenced the mechanics. We don't know this. What we do know is that the fluff ("Pain hurts you in this game and every wound has the potential to stop you in your tracks") is mechanically reinforced (minuses to all actions and the Steel test).

    It doesn't matter that the mechanics could be rolled on d4s, 6s, drawn from a deck of cards, whatever. What matters is that the Steel test is part of the mechanical framework of the system in the first place.

  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    They wrote:
    Hello,

    Thank-you for your interest in the upcoming edition of Dungeons and Dragons. While the d20 system is always going to be at the core of Dungeons and Dragons because it is such a simple and accessible rules set, we were pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response to Fourth Edition's Fortune Card expansions. There's not too much we can share about D&DNext's mechanics right now ( we encourage anyone who is interested to sign-p for the playtest right here), but we can say that if you prefer dice to take a backseat, D&DNext might be right up your alley!

    *shrug*

    I mean, obviously they're not allowed to just write back, "Nope, D&DNext will not interest you. Do not buy our game," but that's interesting to me.

    ...Weren't Fortune Cards universally panned and then jettisoned? I didn't really follow that whole enterprise, but for some reason I thought it flopped pretty hard.
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Bizarre.

    I even let people use them at the cost of a feat and the one person who tried it got rid of it after a few levels.
    Well, you did add a penalty to their use that isn't in the rules.
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Anything else would be unethical.

    I do think they were successful for WotC but I have two issues with them, to Incenjucar's point:

    1) They feel mostly stapled on
    2) I don't like the general notion of someone paying to be better at D&D, by way of bonuses or more options or more fiddily bits or whatever

    If that quote about 5e meant they're going to reproduce Fortune Cards for it, then blegh. If they're going to come up with some mechanism that allows you to have a hand of auto-successes that you draw from, and some loser cards in your hand that you effectively discard when you're cool with failing, then that could be interesting. CthulhuTech had an alt framework that I think was something like that, basically you had a known pool of numbers which you could use to build your successes and failures, rather than always relying on dice rolls.

    3DS: 2466-2307-8384 PSN: bssteph Steam: bsstephan Twitch: bsstephan
    Tabletop:13th Age (mm-mmm), D&D 4e
    Occasional words about games: my site
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    The whole DM power trip thing is, I think, a major reason the game struggles to expand. Encouraging control freak behaviors isn't good for a community.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    i feel ignored when i provided numerous clearcut examples about how any mechanic can be used to resolve any situation :(

    Player of Batgirl, Gotham Knights
    GM of Monsterhearts: Blackwood
  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    bss wrote: »
    This model requires the DM knowing what kind of game they're going to run, the DM telling the players, the players being on board, and the DM never changing their mind mid-stream. Which can happen. The thing about D&D though is that there's pretty much two modes to it: all combat all the time, and combat with some interaction/socialization/whatever. So either way, the combat feat is almost always a safe choice, and that elbows out the other options.

    I mean, even if you're in an RP-heavy game, what are you going to take, a feat that gives you a bonus to defenses, or a feat that lets you speak more languages? Sure the language thing may come up, but it's not like your failure to speak primordial means you have a better chance of dying every session. You can take the languages feat but the opportunity cost is a lot higher than if you just take the bonus to defenses and go "no hablo titan".
    Underlined for emphasis. Languages can be incredibly useful to the point of being life-saving. In a recent game our whole party escaped likely death from a pursuing monster by one character being able to speak a specific language to get some helpful spirits to open a door and let us hide, not to mention giving us helpful information about the dungeon and showing us a healing resource we didn't know existed. If that character didn't have Gaelic on his sheet then we were probably facing down a TPK or, at best, fleeing back to town in shame.

    Saying that, it really relies on a few things.

    1) The language in question is one that's likely to actually be used in the game. Here's where a limited set of language families is much better than learning highly specific languages for single cultures.
    2) The language will give you an opportunity to talk around a situation that might otherwise have been dangerous or turn a relatively neutral situation into something beneficial. If examples don't immediately spring to mind then I don't know what to say to you.
    3) You're playing in a game that supports point 2 and makes it an attractive option through combat being dangerous, not too rewarding and not the primary objective of the game.

    If these things aren't in place then sure, taking a language becomes a trap choice.

    Point 1 is the tricky part and, to be honest, I'd rather check for each character when a new language is encountered (based off INT and taking into account feat/skill choices) to see if they can piece together an understanding of it from the bits of language adventurers are bound to pick up. At chargen if you want a multilingual character than just give them a high INT and take the Linguist Feat or whatever, chances are you'll be able to talk to some of the monsters and work around them that way. No wasted feats learning languages that never arise in the game and, obviously, non-human PCs will start with their own language alongside common.

    Point 2 relies on good GMing, as does so much of an enjoyable game, but really they're things that even new GMs should be learning to do pretty soon in.

    Point 3 is where D&D Next actually comes in, and I'm not sure which way they'll go with it. It sounds like the combat focus will be pulled back from how it was in 4e but I don't expect we'll see a return to earlier editions with things like non-balanced monsters, XP for treasure and the whole grave-robber aesthetic for character art.

    SUPERSUGA on
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    I was so certain and so confident the dragonborn didn’t belong in D&D, I figured my players would reject the race as I did and choose something more in line with the D&D we’d always played. Imagine my surprise when one of my younger players, who was 19 at the time, immediately latched onto the dragonborn and warlord. Imagine my continued surprise when game after game my players ventured further afield than the classic array of classes and races. What I realized was that although dragonborn seemed ridiculous to me, the race had a great deal of appeal to my gaming group—the cantankerous, vulgar, twinkie group of players that they are. And if these old dudes could climb on board the tiefling, drow, dragonborn, wilden, shardmind train, then there must be people for whom these elements are fantasy for them. In the end, I made my peace with the weirder races and classes that have snuck into the game and broadened my horizons to at least not be offended that they exist. (I would use an emoticon to soften the last sentence but I won’t stoop to that sort of nonsense here.)

    lolwut
    i feel ignored when i provided numerous clearcut examples about how any mechanic can be used to resolve any situation

    Yes, but you're sort-of missing the point when you say that. You can tailor different mechanics to better suit particular themetic / flavorful elements in your game (you gave the example of a standard universal resolution system, like GURPS or d20. That's perfectly fine, but universal mechanics are trading-off flavor in exchange for accessibility).

    To use a board game example, consider the Audio CD mechanic in Space Alert! I mean, you could use other things and produce a similar mathematical result, but the mechanical choice of using a CD supports the game's theme.

    To use an RPG example, consider the way that Rifts and similar Palladium products actually gives weapons a real sense of weight to the player by having their damage scale via an upward ramping dice pool.

    You can use any mechanic for anything, sure. But some mechanics can better convey a certain theme than others.

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    I think that's the crux of the disagreement. Mechanics do not themselves create tone. Mechanics are designed specifically to support an intended tone that gets decided upon beforehand. I can't imagine that someone looked at Burning Wheel and said "Oh, this has a Steel mechanic. I guess we should describe combat as being more intense and deadly then."

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    Nealneal wrote: »
    When you provide a concrete example of fluff that cannot be seperated from mechanics, then we'll talk. Until then, you're doing nothing but saying "Uh uh, you're wrong!" in response. The D20 system has always been designed in a way to allow manymanymany different themes and fluff on top of the bare mechanics to allow the players at home the freedom to play the game they want to play. Some systems aren't designed this way you might say. You might offer Paradox in Mage: The Ascension as a mechanic that cannot be seperated from the fluff. I would say "Not true good sir," for in my home game it was used in a way more akin to soul-scarring than reality backslapping you for casting magic. Same mechanic, completely different feel/theme/fluff.

    poshniallo wrote: »
    Actually I can't believe people don't realise theme and mechanics are linked. For example, which two mechanical systems fits LOTR - a system with damage-causing spells that require a party member to sacrifice HP to power them, or a system which gives only low-level bonuses to various skill, ability etc rolls if magic is used in a situation matching one of the spell keywords?

    The mark of a good designer is someone who realises that system and theme are linked and puts them together appropriately. If I want a system that focuses on personal heroism and moral quandaries, a gridmap and LOS rules are going to be actively unhelpful. This just seems really obvious to me.

    I think there were a couple of others.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    i feel ignored when i provided numerous clearcut examples about how any mechanic can be used to resolve any situation :(

    I actually did address your post directly.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Denada wrote: »
    I think that's the crux of the disagreement. Mechanics do not themselves create tone. Mechanics are designed specifically to support an intended tone that gets decided upon beforehand. I can't imagine that someone looked at Burning Wheel and said "Oh, this has a Steel mechanic. I guess we should describe combat as being more intense and deadly then."

    I know that's exactly what designers do. I've read interviews with designers talking about combat with penalties for wounds vs no penalties for wounds and the reason they chose one - to make players scared of combat, to make the first blow more significant etc etc, or to let players have a feeling of power etc.

    And the start of this conversation was SJ saying mechanics and fluff are 100% entirely totally separate. Which I tried to avoid getting sucked into - he's entitled to his own opinion, even if I am sure he's mistaken, but he kept repeating it for a few pages and I couldn't help myself.

    poshniallo on
    I figure I could take a bear.
  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    i'm here a little late to this party about flavor and mechanics and blah blah blah and i think that horse has been beaten mostly to death, but i would like to briefly throw my hat into the ring here:

    there's the game (that's everything we do at the table; we can call this system, mechanics, crunch, beebleblorps, whatever)

    and there's the story (those are the things happening within the narrative which includes all sorts of hippie words like theme and tone; we can also call this fluff or flavor)

    to say that the game and the story are linked and will always influence the other is completely ridiculous, because at its heart we are indeed talking about two separate entities here; we can, if we wanted to, play any roleplaying game without any roleplaying at all, and we'd end up with basically a board game. we could also say 'fuck the game' and just sit around and play pretend like we did when we were kids.

    when we merge the two together we get a roleplaying game, and yes the game and the story can (and should) influence each other, but you can use any mechanic to resolve any situation. for example:

    Elfbad McRangerbutt wants to kill a goblin. Elfbad can...

    ...roll a d20 and compare it to goblin's armor class. (DnD)

    ...roll 4df plus relevant skill against goblin's 4df plus relevant skill. (FATE)

    ...draw a card from a deck that describes my result. (Munchkin)

    ...roll d% and see if he rolls under his Kill Goblin rating. (BRP)

    ...describe how he dashes around behind goblin and totally eviscerates him, earning him a 2 die stunt bonus which will apply to his attack roll. (Exalted)

    i could go on and on but i think it's plain that it doesn't matter which method we use - they're just different ways to get the same thing. story side, all Elfbad cares about is whether or not he has killed his goblin.

    I'll address it and say that this is complete nonsense, because all you've done is define several different ways of doing the exact same mechanical thing. You can't say that all mechanics are the same and then as evidence use a bunch of mechanics that you've defined to be the same (and also say that the only thing he REALLY cares about is whether the goblin is dead, because that's just you redefining terms even more).

    Take d20, Dark Heresy, and Shadowrun. All of them have vastly different ways of handling health, wounds, and damage taken, and how it impacts your character. d20 just has generic hit points, which are always healed completely generically (at least in D&D, I don't know if modern handles it differently, or some other variant.) This leads to a very heroic style of combat, as you can perform huge impressive stunts and maneuvers the entire fight, right up until you croak, or are healed up.

    Shadowrun has a stun and body damage track, both of which can contribute to dice pool penalties the more damage you take. This makes even smaller bits of damage more important, because you can be worn down much more easily. It's very easy to be brought down from a gradual wearing down, even from something as innocuous as a taser, as you just get so many minuses eventually that you can't really do anything effectively. This means that each fight is more important and dangerous, and you have to be more wary. It's easier for the gnats to take down the rhino.

    Dark Heresy has a wound system, which is kind of odd in that you never really die from your wounds, only from criticals - it's just that criticals get worse and worse the more damaged you are. There's also a lot more chance for permanent damage and scarring in dark heresy, it's possible to have limbs and eyes hacked off and gouged out. This makes the combat much more tense the longer the fight goes on, as you're risking a lot more - especially when one roll of damage can determine if your guy just has his stomach ripped open, or his entire arm cut off.

    Just from the way the wound and damage systems are set up, we have 3 very different results in terms of the flavor and style of the system, none of which has much to do with the specific fluff of the weapons used, or anything else. This is what I think the argument is generally about, in that I think one side will read this and think 'yes, that's it exactly', and the other side will think 'no, that's not what I mean when I say fluff/flavor, I mean something else', so hopefully this will help people define what they mean.

  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    Nealneal wrote: »
    Can we talk about this blog post?

    Completely against my better judgement, I am actually in love with the idea at the end of the post. Basically, that Feats could be for Combat things, Skills could be for Exploration things, and some new mechanic could handle Social stuff.

    No other RPG I've played other than D&D has quite so much tension between the combat/non-combat sides of the game, so if this simplifies things for them and makes it easier to balance everything, then I'm for it. Didn't they mention some way of breaking it apart a while ago, like having a combat class, and a non-combat...something? Style? Personality? Like a parallel non-combat class that you'd pick, and then bolt the two together. I liked that idea a lot.

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    bss wrote: »
    This model requires the DM knowing what kind of game they're going to run, the DM telling the players, the players being on board, and the DM never changing their mind mid-stream. Which can happen. The thing about D&D though is that there's pretty much two modes to it: all combat all the time, and combat with some interaction/socialization/whatever. So either way, the combat feat is almost always a safe choice, and that elbows out the other options.

    I mean, even if you're in an RP-heavy game, what are you going to take, a feat that gives you a bonus to defenses, or a feat that lets you speak more languages? Sure the language thing may come up, but it's not like your failure to speak primordial means you have a better chance of dying every session. You can take the languages feat but the opportunity cost is a lot higher than if you just take the bonus to defenses and go "no hablo titan".
    Underlined for emphasis. Languages can be incredibly useful to the point of being life-saving. In a recent game our whole party escaped likely death from a pursuing monster by one character being able to speak a specific language to get some helpful spirits to open a door and let us hide, not to mention giving us helpful information about the dungeon and showing us a healing resource we didn't know existed. If that character didn't have Gaelic on his sheet then we were probably facing down a TPK or, at best, fleeing back to town in shame.

    Saying that, it really relies on a few things.

    1) The language in question is one that's likely to actually be used in the game. Here's where a limited set of language families is much better than learning highly specific languages for single cultures.
    2) The language will give you an opportunity to talk around a situation that might otherwise have been dangerous or turn a relatively neutral situation into something beneficial. If examples don't immediately spring to mind then I don't know what to say to you.
    3) You're playing in a game that supports point 2 and makes it an attractive option through combat being dangerous, not too rewarding and not the primary objective of the game.

    If these things aren't in place then sure, taking a language becomes a trap choice.

    Point 1 is the tricky part and, to be honest, I'd rather check for each character when a new language is encountered (based off INT and taking into account feat/skill choices) to see if they can piece together an understanding of it from the bits of language adventurers are bound to pick up. At chargen if you want a multilingual character than just give them a high INT and take the Linguist Feat or whatever, chances are you'll be able to talk to some of the monsters and work around them that way. No wasted feats learning languages that never arise in the game and, obviously, non-human PCs will start with their own language alongside common.

    Point 2 relies on good GMing, as does so much of an enjoyable game, but really they're things that even new GMs should be learning to do pretty soon in.

    Point 3 is where D&D Next actually comes in, and I'm not sure which way they'll go with it. It sounds like the combat focus will be pulled back from how it was in 4e but I don't expect we'll see a return to earlier editions with things like non-balanced monsters, XP for treasure and the whole grave-robber aesthetic for character art.

    You're right, and this is one of the greatest examples of a mechanic that we've kept in because of original D&D even though it doesn't work well. The trouble with languages is that you can either speak them or you can't, and because language use is so complicated to resolve, there are no more rules about them than that. So if you can speak orc, you can interrogate the chief and discover they didn't really kidnap the princess and it's all a double-cross by the grand vizier.

    Or you can't.

    Much better to replace the whole thing with knowledge skills of some kind. Knowledge: Humanoids could include language skills, maybe give bonuses to combat, whatever.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    bss wrote: »
    This model requires the DM knowing what kind of game they're going to run, the DM telling the players, the players being on board, and the DM never changing their mind mid-stream. Which can happen. The thing about D&D though is that there's pretty much two modes to it: all combat all the time, and combat with some interaction/socialization/whatever. So either way, the combat feat is almost always a safe choice, and that elbows out the other options.

    I mean, even if you're in an RP-heavy game, what are you going to take, a feat that gives you a bonus to defenses, or a feat that lets you speak more languages? Sure the language thing may come up, but it's not like your failure to speak primordial means you have a better chance of dying every session. You can take the languages feat but the opportunity cost is a lot higher than if you just take the bonus to defenses and go "no hablo titan".
    Underlined for emphasis. Languages can be incredibly useful to the point of being life-saving. In a recent game our whole party escaped likely death from a pursuing monster by one character being able to speak a specific language to get some helpful spirits to open a door and let us hide, not to mention giving us helpful information about the dungeon and showing us a healing resource we didn't know existed. If that character didn't have Gaelic on his sheet then we were probably facing down a TPK or, at best, fleeing back to town in shame.

    If that dungeon or whatever was a significant portion of the character's exploits, then great, good choice. However, compare that with ten, twenty, thirty encounters where your defenses are one lower or you do a d4 less damage per hit or whatever.
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    Saying that, it really relies on a few things. ...

    Your examples are all good and technically possible, I'm not denying that. Linguist (or whatever other non-combat feat) can be a good choice, but I'm rather stating that combat bonuses are pretty much guaranteed to be a good choice, when it comes to D&D. It's hard for non-combat choices and combat choices to share the same decision space.
    No other RPG I've played other than D&D has quite so much tension between the combat/non-combat sides of the game, so if this simplifies things for them and makes it easier to balance everything, then I'm for it. Didn't they mention some way of breaking it apart a while ago, like having a combat class, and a non-combat...something? Style? Personality? Like a parallel non-combat class that you'd pick, and then bolt the two together. I liked that idea a lot.

    This is what I'm talking about. Putting the non-combat somethings in a different design space can allow for that kind of thing without messing with combat crunch. Personally, I interpreted 4e as the rules basically saying "we don't care what you do outside of combat" and run it that way --- you want followers, a keep, whatever? Fine, great. Get a bunch of gold or kill some important dudes. Want to seduce the pants off everyone? Pump up your social skills. Want to trick the Raven Queen into a contest where victory means you steal her pantheon? Go right ahead if you think you're ready. The rules leaving all of that varying degrees of ambiguous was good enough for me. If 5e wants to make rules for it, that's fine, but it shouldn't be at the expense of combat stuff.

    4e didn't do that, and I think if they segregate it in 5e the right way, it could be the first thing I find interesting about the game. But, interestingly, I think the rare non-combat choices in 4e still have some some degree of combat utility.
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Much better to replace the whole thing with knowledge skills of some kind. Knowledge: Humanoids could include language skills, maybe give bonuses to combat, whatever.

    For the games that want that kind of nuance, that'd be cool. Personally I'm fine with the binary setting.

    3DS: 2466-2307-8384 PSN: bssteph Steam: bsstephan Twitch: bsstephan
    Tabletop:13th Age (mm-mmm), D&D 4e
    Occasional words about games: my site
  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    I was so certain and so confident the dragonborn didn’t belong in D&D, I figured my players would reject the race as I did and choose something more in line with the D&D we’d always played. Imagine my surprise when one of my younger players, who was 19 at the time, immediately latched onto the dragonborn and warlord. Imagine my continued surprise when game after game my players ventured further afield than the classic array of classes and races. What I realized was that although dragonborn seemed ridiculous to me, the race had a great deal of appeal to my gaming group—the cantankerous, vulgar, twinkie group of players that they are. And if these old dudes could climb on board the tiefling, drow, dragonborn, wilden, shardmind train, then there must be people for whom these elements are fantasy for them. In the end, I made my peace with the weirder races and classes that have snuck into the game and broadened my horizons to at least not be offended that they exist. (I would use an emoticon to soften the last sentence but I won’t stoop to that sort of nonsense here.)

    lolwut

    "I am shocked when people want to play options that they find awesome, options which I may not find awesome or which may not be the same recycled fantasy tropes from a generation ago."

    3DS: 2466-2307-8384 PSN: bssteph Steam: bsstephan Twitch: bsstephan
    Tabletop:13th Age (mm-mmm), D&D 4e
    Occasional words about games: my site
  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    I think there were a couple of others.


    I responded directly to your post two posts down with:

    "Either could be appropriate depending on how you fluffed it in setting. To say there is some ONE mechanic for any given fluff piece is weird, but eh, I disagree with the idea that mechanics inform flavor. When I'm using a fireball to cause damage to enemies (mechanic) it doesn't matter that I'm using explosive pixie powder instead of bat guano (flavor). Still a big ball of fire. Now should a setting influence the flavor of things, sure. I wouldn't expect guns to be in Forgotten Realms. As to your last point about having rules for grids and LOS being actively unhelpful to a game, I have no idea how that even begins to make sense. Even Vampire has rules for where things are in relation to you and could easily be played with a grid and miniatures. I don't believe that affected the ability to play a game of heroism and personal morality at all."

    So I still don't think you've provided anything.

  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    I've gotta be honest, dragonborn annoy me, and I eliminated them from my game (by making them into lizard people who can only spit acid).

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    I've always been a fan of non-generic fantasy, so my only problem with things like shardminds is that they didn't do them very well.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • SJSJ Registered User regular
    Denada wrote: »
    I think that's the crux of the disagreement. Mechanics do not themselves create tone. Mechanics are designed specifically to support an intended tone that gets decided upon beforehand. I can't imagine that someone looked at Burning Wheel and said "Oh, this has a Steel mechanic. I guess we should describe combat as being more intense and deadly then."

    This is exactly the case I've been making. Tone and flavor might even make a certain mechanic seem like it belongs, but that is for other reasons entirely.

  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    denada is a brilliant guy, he illustrates my point pretty spot on

    also "killing a goblin" is not a mechanic sage, it's an event that happens in the world, so i think you missed my point when i said that any narrative event can be resolved with any mechanic

    i never made any statement about any mechanic being better or worse for the job, and i've said twice now that that's not what i'm talking about, because in good game design they should be linked

    but they aren't permanently fused together

    Player of Batgirl, Gotham Knights
    GM of Monsterhearts: Blackwood
  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    Denada wrote: »
    I think that's the crux of the disagreement. Mechanics do not themselves create tone. Mechanics are designed specifically to support an intended tone that gets decided upon beforehand. I can't imagine that someone looked at Burning Wheel and said "Oh, this has a Steel mechanic. I guess we should describe combat as being more intense and deadly then."

    This is like saying that fluff doesn't create tone, it just supports a tone that was decided beforehand. Of course it was created beforehand, tone isn't created accidentally, it's done intentionally using tools like mechanics and fluff. The fact that a tone was decided beforehand is a truism, and not really an argument for anything.

    Other than that, you've just got another unsupported assertion that mechanics don't create tone.
    also "killing a goblin" is not a mechanic sage, it's an event that happens in the world, so i think you missed my point when i said that any narrative event can be resolved with any mechanic

    i never made any statement about any mechanic being better or worse for the job, and i've said twice now that that's not what i'm talking about, because in good game design they should be linked

    but they aren't permanently fused together

    I don't even understand what this means. I don't think I implied you said any mechanic was better or worse, in fact I was implying the opposite. You are saying that all mechanics are functionally the same, and I'm arguing they can have extremely different effects on the tone of a game. Can you address the examples I gave? Otherwise I'm going to think you're ignoring them because they're too good, and hard to refute. :)

  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    you're not even talking about the same thing i am

    i'm not saying all mechanics are functionally the same, i was using those examples to say that any mechanic can be used to resolve any situation to illustrate that mechanics and story can be examined independently

    your examples are basically just "well this mechanic really enforces the flavor of game X" which is great but a different discussion altogether (the merit of mechanic X to illustrate theme/flavor/fluff Y)

    i'm combating vanguard's idea that every mechanic necessarily has to be married to flavor/theme/tone/whatever we're calling it - mechanics can enhance flavor, but they don't need to.

    ArcanisTheImpotent on
    Player of Batgirl, Gotham Knights
    GM of Monsterhearts: Blackwood
  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    Well ok, but based on this:
    Vanguard wrote: »
    There were two different arguments in this whole mess of discussion:

    1) Mechanics can/cannot be separated from the fluff

    2) Mechanics can/cannot add to the fluff

    Generally, the consensus on the first one has been that they absolutely can. Sure, whatever.

    Many people have said that the second one can be true, but then insert the first argument to disprove it. This is SJs, "Mechanics can add to the fluff, but I could just as well change the names of everything and make a system for farming, because they're not linked."

    This is what I've been arguing against. My example with the Steel test shows that the design decision absolutely did flavor the game. The counterpoint to this was that the fluff came first and that it was more accurate to say it influenced the mechanics. We don't know this. What we do know is that the fluff ("Pain hurts you in this game and every wound has the potential to stop you in your tracks") is mechanically reinforced (minuses to all actions and the Steel test).

    It doesn't matter that the mechanics could be rolled on d4s, 6s, drawn from a deck of cards, whatever. What matters is that the Steel test is part of the mechanical framework of the system in the first place.

    It doesn't seem like he's saying what you think he is. I think he's just saying that there are SOME mechanics which are designed to influence the tone/flavor. Yeah, it's possible to design a game system where every dispute is resolved via coin flip, and be completely flavorless. I don't think anyone is really disputing that.

  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    i think where we're getting tripped up is in this specific example of the steel test (why did it have to be burning fucking wheel of all things)

    he is using it to reinforce his idea that mechanics and fluff have to be linked on all levels - page 64 or so
    This just seems like common sense. The mechanics of a game are going to imply certain things about the imagined world, and those implications are flavor.

    that's a pretty strong absolute statement here and what i've been predicating my points on

    and since you already agreed that we can design a game system completely divorced from any predicated flavor, i think we're really just coming at a similar conclusion from two different directions :)

    ArcanisTheImpotent on
    Player of Batgirl, Gotham Knights
    GM of Monsterhearts: Blackwood
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    Denada wrote: »
    I think that's the crux of the disagreement. Mechanics do not themselves create tone. Mechanics are designed specifically to support an intended tone that gets decided upon beforehand. I can't imagine that someone looked at Burning Wheel and said "Oh, this has a Steel mechanic. I guess we should describe combat as being more intense and deadly then."

    This is like saying that fluff doesn't create tone, it just supports a tone that was decided beforehand. Of course it was created beforehand, tone isn't created accidentally, it's done intentionally using tools like mechanics and fluff. The fact that a tone was decided beforehand is a truism, and not really an argument for anything.

    Other than that, you've just got another unsupported assertion that mechanics don't create tone.

    "This is like saying that fluff doesn't create tone, it just supports a tone that was decided beforehand."
    -Correct!

    "Of course it was created beforehand, tone isn't created accidentally, it's done intentionally using tools like mechanics and fluff."
    -Correct! And also the reason I used words like "intended" and "designed"!

    "The fact that a tone was decided beforehand is a truism, and not really an argument for anything."
    -Correct!

    "Other than that, you've just got another unsupported assertion that mechanics don't create tone."
    -Correct! Because they don't! "Steel" does not create tone. It is created to support a desired tone. "Hit Points" do not create tone. Hit Points are created to support a desired tone. It's not a statement about whether mechanics and tone are linked. It's a statement about the nature of that link, really more along the lines of where these things come to be in the design process of a game. Think of it as a chicken and egg statement. The tone comes first.

    Just look at WotC's 5E posts. They've all been about what kind of "tone" and "feel" the designers want for the game, and how they're trying to design and choose mechanics, fluff, art styles, and even logo styles that support that tone. They're not starting with "Okay guys, Hit Points. Let's make a game that feels like Hit Points."

  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    i'd play a game with the tag line "Feels Just Like Hit Points"

    Player of Batgirl, Gotham Knights
    GM of Monsterhearts: Blackwood
  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    Denada wrote: »
    Well, at least he fully cops to being an unreasonable person making an unreasonable suggestion in his blog post.

    But it's these sorts of blog posts that make me wary of their "modular" approach. Instead of saying "We're playing D&D, but no Tieflings, no Dragonborn, and no Primal classes," now we'll have to say "We're playing D&D with the Martial, Arcane, Shadow, Elemental, Divine, and Psionic class modules, the Feat module, the Basic and Intermediate Skills modules, the Core and Uncommon race modules, the Inherent Bonus module, the Gridded Combat System module, the Expanded Weapon Statistics module, the Advanced Combat module, and the Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Artifact Items modules."

    Yay for being so much easier to run!

    I reiterate that 5E sounds like a trumped-up full-color glossy GURPS that's less mechanically sound.

    sig.png
Sign In or Register to comment.