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D&D 5e Discussion

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Posts

  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I can't see how they can balance Wizards without:

    1) Nerfing Wizards. The primary difference between Wizards and Fighters is the presence of powerful AOE attacks.

    2) Giving Fighters some kind of combat maneuver that lets them move and attack multiple things in a single turn.

    I also don't really care. DCC RPG is supposed to be in sometime this week, and as previously stated, all fucks will ceased to be given.

    Deebaser wrote: »
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  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hipstah Kitteh Registered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Tox wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote:
    fish bump

    In another time and place, this would become a meme.

    --

    On the plus side, the non-rules stuff they talk about is wonderfully clear.

    They're... still really bad at getting across a coherent story about the game.

    I think what they should be doing is working on a baseline for a variety of concepts, and then apply those concepts to different classes as appropriate. It's going to be horrifying if they're really going to balance combat ability with "exploration" or "roleplay" stuff rather than just making sure every class is useful in every major chunk of game.

    Basically this. I feel better now that Monte is gone and Mearle's articles are more focused on balance across the class. His description of the elf cleric of Apollo charged me up a bit. The idea of a cleric following his god/dess's ethos rather than just hitting things with thier favored weapon is pretty cool. But I don't want to see the "Decker" problem in D&D and that design philosophy of combat/roleplay/exploration concerns me. All characters should be able to contribute all the time if they so desire.

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  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2012
    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    All characters should be able to contribute all the time if they so desire.

    This is a philosophy I disagree with. Well, maybe.

    I think part of the point of having classes is so that you have specialization. More importantly, that specialization should be more or less useful depending on the situation. Clerics should be charismatic, Barbarians should be better at burst damage, Rogues picking locks, setting/disarming traps etc.

    Maybe you're not saying this at all though.

    Vanguard on
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

    MY RPG Blog: The Earthlight Academy
  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    Vanguard wrote: »
    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    All characters should be able to contribute all the time if they so desire.

    This is a philosophy I disagree with. Well, maybe.

    I think part of the point of having classes is so that you have specialization. More importantly, that specialization should be more or less useful depending on the situation. Clerics should be charismatic, Barbarians should be better at burst damage, Rogues picking locks, setting/disarming traps etc.

    Maybe you're not saying this at all though.

    My philosophy is I think what Mikey is getting at.

    Some characters should always shine, all characters should always be involved.

    People are setting aside a day to play this so it is my duty to keep them engaged the entire time.

    So you have combat, everyone is in it and some are focused on it maybe. That is fine.

    Social encounters? Likely one character is the mouth, but if this is going to be any significant amount of time then there needs to be things for everyone to do to help out.

    The Decker problem is the best example of the problem at its worst: one player is focused on for a potentially extended amount of time of the session, and is doing things that every other character cannot assist or even witness. The players just hang around. It is more like playing two games and switching between them, it is grating and annoying for pretty much everyone.

    (When I ran SR3 games, I often would do the decking stuff 1 on 1 outside the sessions proper.)

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  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hipstah Kitteh Registered User regular
    Vanguard wrote: »
    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    All characters should be able to contribute all the time if they so desire.

    This is a philosophy I disagree with. Well, maybe.

    I think part of the point of having classes is so that you have specialization. More importantly, that specialization should extend beyond combat. Not everybody should be a master diplomat, not everybody should know how to pick locks, etc.

    Maybe you're not saying this at all though.

    You're right, that's not what I'm saying. Let's examine your master diplomat scene for a moment...

    Let's give it the generic party setup - a cleric, a fighter, a wizard, and a rogue.

    Our cleric is in the middle of careful negotiations with the corrupt lord of small city-state during court. The wizard is assisting by providing historical references to frame the clerics arguments. The fighter is in the corner intimidating a member of court into influencing the lord's decision. Meanwhile, the rogue has managed to sneak into the lord's chambers to hunt for blackmail material.

    All the characters are assisting in completing the goal of the scene in their own unique way. They are all contributing but they are not all attempting the same task. This is what I mean.

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  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    That makes sense. Involved = / = shine, which was maybe my confusion.

    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

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  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    edit: dp

    Infidel on
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  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    Vanguard wrote: »
    That makes sense. Involved = / = shine, which was maybe my confusion.

    Yeah, I have known games where it was literally okay decking time, everyone else go get dinner.

    The biggest success in mitigating this while making a Decker character not-useless was co-GMing.

    Have a larger game and two GMs. A friend ran the combat/security encounters while I ran the decking and tech side, it went simultaneously as the theme intends and it was pretty baller.

    But that is hard to come by. Still, awesome.

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  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Although this article has its own issues (the sniper example isn't fantastic) I generally agree with the author's philosophy on niche protection and player engagement.

    Here's the particularly relevant part, underlined for emphasis.
    What this piece of advice reveals about the hobby, of course, is that too many people still persist in seeing RPG play as linear. The GM thinks of a scenario that he believes will be fun, with a beginning, middle and end, and the players follow it through to its conclusion. If the players don't have fun, it's the GM's fault, because it's the GM's job to be on his knees under the table giving them orgasms.

    All of this falls away if you pursue nonlinearity. This is the USP of RPGs: the GM creating a setting, with hooks to get the players involved, and the players going about their business in a way they deem best. Computers can't emulate this well. It's one of the huge advantages that pen-and-paper has over the computer game. And yet for some reason the vast majority of players still don't seem to have got the message yet.

    Now, this isn't to say the GM doesn't have a role in this. If the player wants to be a ninja and is doing ninja-ish things, the GM needs to support him in that. When he makes ninja plans to ninja stuff the fuck up, the GM needs to interpret his ideas favourably, and certainly shouldn't be saying "Nah, you can't do that". The GM's job is to be the catalyst for, to encourage, creativity. But there's a world of difference between that and the GM engineering things to suit specific players.

    SUPERSUGA on
  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    Although this article has its own issues (the sniper example isn't fantastic) I generally agree with the author's philosophy on niche protection and player engagement.

    Here's the particularly relevant part, underlined for emphasis.
    What this piece of advice reveals about the hobby, of course, is that too many people still persist in seeing RPG play as linear. The GM thinks of a scenario that he believes will be fun, with a beginning, middle and end, and the players follow it through to its conclusion. If the players don't have fun, it's the GM's fault, because it's the GM's job to be on his knees under the table giving them orgasms.

    All of this falls away if you pursue nonlinearity. This is the USP of RPGs: the GM creating a setting, with hooks to get the players involved, and the players going about their business in a way they deem best. Computers can't emulate this well. It's one of the huge advantages that pen-and-paper has over the computer game. And yet for some reason the vast majority of players still don't seem to have got the message yet.

    Now, this isn't to say the GM doesn't have a role in this. If the player wants to be a ninja and is doing ninja-ish things, the GM needs to support him in that. When he makes ninja plans to ninja stuff the fuck up, the GM needs to interpret his ideas favourably, and certainly shouldn't be saying "Nah, you can't do that". The GM's job is to be the catalyst for, to encourage, creativity. But there's a world of difference between that and the GM engineering things to suit specific players.

    This is part of the fun and challenge in running Burning Wheel for me. I can't plan for it. I filled in a few details, crafted some NPCs, and planned one scene. The six hours that we played was all done on the fly afterwards, and the immediate situation wasn't even the one I planned, though we eventually got to it. It's really, a very different type of game and has changed how I want to approach all of my games.

    The problem is that Pathfinder and 3.whatever don't work quite as well for that, in my experience. There's so much math to the game that running it on the fly makes it very difficult to do something like improvise a dungeon crawl.

    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

    MY RPG Blog: The Earthlight Academy
  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    The hardest thing I've improvised was a puzzle encounter.

    It ended up being my best puzzle ever. The illusion of YES EVERYTHING FITS NOW for the players, and the journey through it, was perfect.

    I don't really know how that happened. :rotate:

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  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Infidel wrote: »
    The hardest thing I've improvised was a puzzle encounter.

    It ended up being my best puzzle ever. The illusion of YES EVERYTHING FITS NOW for the players, and the journey through it, was perfect.

    I don't really know how that happened. :rotate:

    I've only pulled this off a few times myself. When it works though, the players minds = blown.

    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

    MY RPG Blog: The Earthlight Academy
  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hipstah Kitteh Registered User regular
    Here's the problem with "non-linear" - I have a fucking job. Allow me to explain what I mean. The reason the typical "linear" structure is the most popular isn't because people don't understand "non-linearality", as the author so rudely suggests. It's because preparing the non-linear structure requires a lot of work. First, you have to prepare a map. Then, you have to populate that map with NPCs. Next, you have to create scenarios. Then, you have to create locations where those scenarios take place. Then you have to decided which NPCs offer which hooks to the players. Then, you have to populate those locations with interesting encounters. Then as the players level you have to make sure those encounters remain challenging and I DO NOT HAVE THE GODDAMN TIME.

    These fuckers want to play every goddamn week for 3-4 hours and I have to have encounters prepared for them to play. Now if you playing with a looser rules framework, like Savage Worlds or Burning Wheel or whatever, then yeah this is probably an awesome way to run your games. Me and my players play Dungeons & Dragons 4e though, and I only have about enough time every week to plan three or four encounters.

    "Non-linear" structures require much more planning and in the end provide the exact same experience. Cause even if you go through all this trouble to create an open world or "sandbox" style environment for the players to explore, guess what? The players still experience this sandbox world you've created in a linear fashion. And the players may never experience some or even most of all that material you prepared ahead of time. It's an open world after all... they might decide "I know that crone back in town told us to explore that tower, but fuck that. " They then decide to head to the next town to the east, which you may or may not have prepared. Then no one has a good time, including you. Also, fuck him table-top game accomplish better than video games. He obviously has never played any Rock Star or Elder Scrolls game. I cannot compete with goddamn Skyrim.

    A linear story structure allows me to only create what I need for the next game session. It also makes it easier to adapt to what the players do. Now I do everything I can to make sure they don't feel railroaded. Multiple areas for them to explore, their actions affect things back in town, etc.. If they want to deviate from what I prepared then I can come up with something on the fly without much effort.

    TL;DR Cute idea just too bad real life makes it implausible and also not any more or less rewarding than typical "linear" storylines. Oh, and the author should be less of a prick about it. The smugness and condescension in that article left an aweful taste in my mouth.

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  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    "Non-linear" structures require much more planning and in the end provide the exact same experience. Cause even if you go through all this trouble to create an open world or "sandbox" style environment for the players to explore, guess what? The players still experience this sandbox world you've created in a linear fashion.

    [snip]

    Also, fuck him table-top game accomplish better than video games. He obviously has never played any Rock Star or Elder Scrolls game. I cannot compete with goddamn Skyrim.

    When it comes to prep-time the big difference is in how you use the material you prepare. I'm running a semi-regular game at the moment and after about six sessions I haven't really had to do any more prep after the initial dungeon design, nearby settlement summary and some encounter tables for the wilderness in between. I sat down at the start of the campaign and did all of this in a few hours in the knowledge that the adventurers wouldn't completely explore the dozen or so labyrinthine dungeon levels in a handful of sessions.

    Of course, there's a point where you have to lift up the curtain throw the group a clue. If they say "well we aren't going to that dungeon, we're going to head South until we find somewhere new" I'm going to straight-up tell them that all my prep is based around this region and if they wander away from it then may the encounter tables and dungeon generators have mercy on their souls. For me non-linearity is about how you interact with the world and solve problems rather than being able to turn about and wander off map on a whim. You can do that but I wouldn't really want to play with someone that would do that to a GM that's put work into preparing for a certain area.

    With regards to competing with CRPGs, if you can't compete with them then why are you playing tabletop games at all? Skyrim may be non-linear for a videogame but you're still limited to what the game says you can do.

  • SJSJ Registered User regular
    Aegeri wrote: »
    Really what bemuses me is that if the fighter is obviously best at fighting, what will be the point of other melee classes? Are they even going to bother with classes beyond the core 4 or so, but just make them kits or variations? Who really knows and I'm pretty sure they don't either.

    The language he uses makes it sound like they're talking about very straight up styles of fighting. I punch you, you punch me, I'll win this fight eventually. Other melee classes will, I assume, have a bunch of maneuvering/healing/buffing stuff to compensate for not being as cool, popular, handsome, and good with the ladies as a fighter. That's all conjecture of course, but I'd like to see similar write ups for the rogue and barbarian to see how they plan on differentiating them.

  • LochielLochiel Registered User regular
    I just finished a short 4E campaign where the extent of my prep was printing NPC & Mob stats, thinking out the personalities & goals of major NPCs, figuring out major plot points, and getting an idea of major plot locations. Maps where drawn on the fly or pulled out of the generic terrain pile, encounters were thrown together to fit the situation (Thank You, 4E-Encounter-Building-System), and the plot points and NPCs changed as needed.

    I'm fairly open with my players about how I'm crafting the world and the story on the fly, and how much freedom they have. Once I had to say "No, just no". Several times I said "You could, but it would take more time and effort than is worth it" and several times the players took ownership of the story and advanced it in a method besides "I am awesome and solve all the problems".

    Total prep time? About 30min before each session. Of course, there is no way I could have done a traditional dungeon crawl in this method. And perhaps there are players out there whose game play is ruined if they see the man behind the curtain.

    TL;DR - Liner or non-liner is an aspect of your game. It works for me. If it doesn't work for you, then ok, cool. But don't hate because it works for someone else.

  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hipstah Kitteh Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    <snip>
    With regards to competing with CRPGs, if you can't compete with them then why are you playing tabletop games at all? Skyrim may be non-linear for a videogame but you're still limited to what the game says you can do.

    Roleplaying games are a social experience. Through all the joking, spilled sodas, and dice rolling we create a unique, collaborative narrative no one else will experience. Some of them can be quite memorable and even epic in nature. Now that is an experience no video game, whether it is Skyrim or the Massive Multiplayer variety, can deliver. It is simply more intimate than any video game can ever compete with.

    I remember playing and enjoying Skyrim but I don't remember any individual moments from it. It's mostly now an amphorous experience in my brain. I still remember my D&D first character, Cecilia. An elf wizard who accidentally set herself on fire with her own flaming sphere during my very first adventure. I was hooked from that moment. That is why I play tabletop game. Why do you play them?

    Mikey CTS on
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  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    Because, a CRPG might have the status "on-fire" that causes damage over time and maybe illuminates the character and allows fire to be spread to other objects listed as flammable.

    In a tabletop RPG a player getting set on fire means they need to think of a way to extinguish it fast. Do you cast off your clothes and have to explain your nudity to everyone you pass by until the next settlement? Do you leap into the fast-flowing river and risk getting swept away or drained by a giant leech? Do you run into a nearby tavern for aid and risk burning the place to the ground?

    There's a joy in that potentially limitless choice and seeing the impact it has on the world that I don't get with even the deepest CRPGs. There's no walkthrough to a GM-designed dungeon and if the GM's running things the way I do he doesn't even know the best solution himself.

  • PMAversPMAvers You wouldn't have heard of it, anyway...Registered User regular
    Vanguard wrote: »
    I also don't really care. DCC RPG is supposed to be in sometime this week, and as previously stated, all fucks will ceased to be given.

    Ooh, glad I'm not the only one who's looking forward to that.

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    COME FORTH, AMATERASU!
  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hipstah Kitteh Registered User regular
    Lochiel wrote: »
    TL;DR - Liner or non-liner is an aspect of your game. It works for me. If it doesn't work for you, then ok, cool. But don't hate because it works for someone else.

    My intent was to hate on the author of that article and explain why "non-linear structure" may not be practical for rules heavier games like Dungeons & Dragons. He did describe other methods of DMing as "giving bj's under the table" and was just as unnecessarily rude throughout the whole article.

    If you can pull that off with D&D, more power to you. I need more structure than that. I'm not here to tell you that you're playing your fantasy elves wrong.

    // PSN: wyrd_warrior //
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  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hipstah Kitteh Registered User regular
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    Because, a CRPG might have the status "on-fire" that causes damage over time and maybe illuminates the character and allows fire to be spread to other objects listed as flammable.

    In a tabletop RPG a player getting set on fire means they need to think of a way to extinguish it fast. Do you cast off your clothes and have to explain your nudity to everyone you pass by until the next settlement? Do you leap into the fast-flowing river and risk getting swept away or drained by a giant leech? Do you run into a nearby tavern for aid and risk burning the place to the ground?

    There's a joy in that potentially limitless choice and seeing the impact it has on the world that I don't get with even the deepest CRPGs. There's no walkthrough to a GM-designed dungeon and if the GM's running things the way I do he doesn't even know the best solution himself.

    Or, you know, you could stop-drop-and-roll.

    8->

    I don't think we're describing anything really that different, just from different perspectives. Which is pretty cool.

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  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    If you think that there is no difference between linear play and non-linear play, I question if you've ever actually experienced non-linear play. The differences are both large and small, but, more importantly, immediate. The short version:

    Linear games tend to go in a few directions largely determined by what the GM has planned.

    Non-linear games go in a million directions largely determined on what the party feels like doing.

    I also feel that D&D is a bad system for non-linear play. which makes the prep work for that kind of game daunting unless you're a fucking rules Wizard.

    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

    MY RPG Blog: The Earthlight Academy
  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hipstah Kitteh Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Vanguard wrote: »
    If you think that there is no difference between linear play and non-linear play, I question if you've ever actually experienced non-linear play. The differences are both large and small, but, more importantly, immediate. The short version:

    Linear games tend to go in a few directions largely determined by what the GM has planned.

    Non-linear games go in a million directions largely determined on what the party feels like doing.

    I also feel that D&D is a bad system for non-linear play. which makes the prep work for that kind of game daunting unless you're a fucking rules Wizard.

    You misunderstood what I was saying. There may not have anything planned and you might just be making it up on the fly. Players are still going to experience those infinite possibilities as a linear progression of events. They may have infinite choices and can do whatever they want but when you're packing up dice at the end of the night they still occurred as a sequence of events. From A to B to C.

    I don't think it's "linear" or "non-linear", you need both to create a rich experience. D&D just forces you to move from one to the other quicker.

    Anyway, we're way off topic. How about that fifth edition? When should we see the notes on rogues?

    Mikey CTS on
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  • SJSJ Registered User regular
    Who cares rogues aren't wizards

  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    Because, a CRPG might have the status "on-fire" that causes damage over time and maybe illuminates the character and allows fire to be spread to other objects listed as flammable.

    In a tabletop RPG a player getting set on fire means they need to think of a way to extinguish it fast. Do you cast off your clothes and have to explain your nudity to everyone you pass by until the next settlement? Do you leap into the fast-flowing river and risk getting swept away or drained by a giant leech? Do you run into a nearby tavern for aid and risk burning the place to the ground?

    There's a joy in that potentially limitless choice and seeing the impact it has on the world that I don't get with even the deepest CRPGs. There's no walkthrough to a GM-designed dungeon and if the GM's running things the way I do he doesn't even know the best solution himself.

    Or, you know, you could stop-drop-and-roll.
    Except those kobolds have littered the ground with caltrops before they firebombed you and your pockets are filled with glass vials of mutating slime from that weird bubbling pool back on the last dungeon level. As a GM it's your duty to ensure that even the boring options like stop-drop-roll carry a risk!

    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    I don't think we're describing anything really that different, just from different perspectives. Which is pretty cool.
    Sounds about right to me!

    Oh, and concerning D&D being bad for non-linear play, I can see that argument for 4e but if we're talking B/X or even OD&D it's pretty straightforward and seems to be designed with that type of play in mind (a focus on sites rather than plots, large scale hex maps, random encounter tables etc.)

    SUPERSUGA on
  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I think that's why we're seeing the OSR, honestly. Pathfinder, 3.whatever are just not suited to that style of play at all. Making your own monsters is a long arduous task, as is rolling NPCs, as is even playing the game at higher levels.

    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

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  • RiemannLivesRiemannLives Registered User regular
    Vanguard wrote: »
    I think that's why we're seeing the OSR, honestly. Pathfinder, 3.whatever are just not suited to that style of play at all. Making your own monsters is a long arduous task, as is rolling NPCs, as is even playing the game at higher levels.

    I agree about Pathfinder / 3.x. However I have found that 4e works well for making up stuff on the fly. I've run several sessions like that.

    For example, when I ran Keep on the Shadowfell the party decided to go check out a ruined monastery they passed on the way. Ended up being the whole first session and I had absolutely nothing on paper for the place. Ended up making up the floorplan as I went and pulling undeaddy looking monsters from the MM as needed. Had 3 encounters and a couple traps.

  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Vanguard wrote: »
    I think that's why we're seeing the OSR, honestly. Pathfinder, 3.whatever are just not suited to that style of play at all. Making your own monsters is a long arduous task, as is rolling NPCs, as is even playing the game at higher levels.

    I agree about Pathfinder / 3.x. However I have found that 4e works well for making up stuff on the fly. I've run several sessions like that.

    For example, when I ran Keep on the Shadowfell the party decided to go check out a ruined monastery they passed on the way. Ended up being the whole first session and I had absolutely nothing on paper for the place. Ended up making up the floorplan as I went and pulling undeaddy looking monsters from the MM as needed. Had 3 encounters and a couple traps.

    I can't speak to 4e as I haven't played it. From reading the PHB, the system seems to suffer from a lack of flavor (ie little difference between a spell and a daily power from another class) in exchange for the ease of building encounters.

    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

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  • SJSJ Registered User regular
    Systems don't add flavor, fluff does.

  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    Yeah 4e is deliberately designed that way. Turns out players have imaginations that work just fine, and really only require a functional ruleset from a gaming company, as they can add the rest in on their own.

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  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2012
    SJ wrote: »
    Systems don't add flavor, fluff does.

    Not true. Flavor is just as easily imparted by the feel of a system. The Fight! mechanic of Burning Wheel absolutely feels like a battle because of how the mechanics play out.

    The combat in D&D does not because of how flat the system is in comparison.

    Vanguard on
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

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  • bssbss BIBIBABIBABIBUBIII Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    I agree with SJ and Tox's point, but the 4e PHB is definitely a bit spartan compared to 3e books, in both mechanical fluff and story fluff. Thankfully they improved with that over time.

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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    You can pull off letting the PCs do whatever, but you have a solid mix of confidence, practice at improv, and contingency plans. In the campaign I run, I deliberately set the game up so that Heroic tier started off as a railroad, to help ease newbies and Encounters-only types into the complexity of the game. When Heroic is over, they'll lose the geas that's put them in railroad mode, and every level between has become looser, as the group becomes more cohesive. Increasingly, I just do a bit of prep work for possible encounters, and let the circumstances and PC choices determine where they happen and how they deal with them.

    In the most recent adventure, the PCs ended up accidentally preventing the cannibal half-elves from attacking them in their sleep, and instead got their help in finding the dragon they were trying to save the eggs of. Often, I won't even know what kind of encounter map to prepare, so I just jot down some ideas of what sort of terrain might be around, and then let the encounter dictate what happens.

    With zero planning except "this is an ice burg with lots of frozen monsters inside" I decided that the last major encounter had a pair of frozen giant abominations. When a PC injured an enemy, I got a bright idea and drew in a blood trickle toward the nearest abomination. During the fight, the dragonborn let loose with lightning breath, and I decided that if he rolled high on his damage, it would melt the ice - it did, and I threw out a miniature of a random small abomination which, after some dice rolls, ended attacking one of the enemies. The blood on the ice eventually made its way to the abomination, which woke up and popped some tentacles out of the ice, which did hilarious things to PCs and enemies alike.

    That said, I've been practicing at this sort of thing for a long time, and nobody should be expected to be able to pull that much out of their ass at the table.

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  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I should add an addendum to my last post. Flavor is not exclusively the product of fluff. The symbolic action that your character is rolling the dice for absolutely sets a certain tone at the table.

    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

    MY RPG Blog: The Earthlight Academy
  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    I mean I look at stuff like Mage: the Ascension from World of Darkness. The mechanical system worked the same way no matter how you were doing a given thing. What sort of flavor you used was immaterial to the mechanical system you used. You might get circumstantial bonuses based on how your flavor lined up (and the same can be done in 4e), but it wasn't ultimately required, all that was required was that you gain access to the basic system for how to do a given thing.

    That's how I like my mechanics. Give me a system for establishing challenge and task resolution and get out of the way of my imagination.

    Grey Ghost wrote: »
    James Dean was the actor, Jimmy Dean was in the sausage business.

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  • SJSJ Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Vanguard wrote: »
    SJ wrote: »
    Systems don't add flavor, fluff does.

    Not true. Flavor is just as easily imparted by the feel of a system. The Fight! mechanic of Burning Wheel absolutely feels like a battle because of how the mechanics play out.

    The combat in D&D does not because of how flat the system is in comparison.

    Absolutely it's true, and whether or not something feels like a battle is entirely dependent on you buying into whether or not it's a battle, fluff wise, not mechanics wise. Flavor is entirely something that comes from a setting, or the players interacting with the world, or a number of other things, but nothing to do with the mechanics, unless you are lying to yourself. A fight feeling like a fight is not flavor, that's just well made mechanics (or at least, not terribly made mechanics) and someone having the ability to link those mechanics to some desired perception. The perception itself might be flavorful, but it stands entirely apart as a separate entity from the mechanics.

    SJ on
  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Example time:

    Characters in Burning Wheel have a stat called Steel. These are the raw nerves of your character. You test it every time you encounter pain, surprise, fear, or wonderment. For example, if you are struck and wounded by a blow, you make a Steel test. If you fail you hesitate for the number of actions equal to your margin of failure.

    There is no magical healing in the game. Taking a severe wound is going to effect your character for months and require the skills of a physician.

    These two examples make combat haven a very different flavor than the kind encountered in D&D. A single blow has the potential to absolutely maim your character, which makes any sort of physical altercation have a heightened sense of risk. That's flavor.

    In D&D, you expect to kill a lot of shit. A single combat always has the potential to be lethal, but there is a pulp element to adventuring. You will fight often. You will take several wounds in the course of an adventure, but nothing the Cleric can't fix. That's flavor.

    These are both examples of the mechanics informing the flavor of a game.

    Dungeon Crawl Classics sets the tone right at character creation. The only choice a player gets to make about the characters they roll is their name. Everything else is assigned randomly at level 0. Only when you've braved and survived your first dungeon do you get to choose a proper class. This is mechanics-derived flavor.

    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.

    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

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  • SJSJ Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Those mechanics help express flavor, because they are placed together with the intention of doing that, and the authors use other methods to reinforce that - but they are still different from it. You could use those mechanics to represent someones ability to farm if you felt like it. Tone and flavor are methods by which an author can draw the player into the mechanics, but that doesn't mean they aren't able to be separated from one another. After all, mechanics are simply abstractions for some kind of resolution - you can imprint whatever you feel like on top of them, as long as you do a good job connecting the two.

    SJ on
  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    SJ wrote: »
    Those mechanics help express flavor, because they are placed together with the intention of doing that, and the authors use other methods to reinforce that - but they are still different from it. You could use those mechanics to represent someones ability to farm if you felt like it. Tone and flavor are methods by which an author can draw the player into the mechanics, but that doesn't mean they aren't able to be separated from one another. After all, mechanics are simply abstractions for some kind of resolution - you can imprint whatever you feel like on top of them, as long as you do a good job connecting the two.

    We seem to mostly be in agreement. The one point of contention I have is that you think you can separate them completely. I don't think you can. If magic exists, and there are mechanics for it, some of the flavor of that magic is going to be decided by how casting a spell is resolved.

    Example: is there a risk of failure beyond not succeeding? If the answer is yes, this creates an element of fear and unpredictability depending on how severe the penalties for a failed casting are. In D&D, your spell might hit the wrong target, or it might go off at the wrong time. In Burning Wheel, you might summon a greater demon. In DCC RPG, you might accidentally polymorph your friend.

    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

    MY RPG Blog: The Earthlight Academy
  • SJSJ Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Uhm, except that even the name 'magic' is a bit of flavor just put on top of some sort of abstract resolution mechanic. You could rename it to 'farming,' if you felt like it, because magic and farming are both just types of flavor that one can imprint on top of a mechanic to enforce a certain type of setting. These are absolutely things that exist in a vacuum, they are entirely apart from one another. There exists no mechanic that cannot have the flavor taken out and altered/swapped into something else. I mean, just the fact that we can talk about them in the kinds of mechanic-less language that we're using is proof that they are, in and of themselves, entirely separate from those mechanics.

    SJ on
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