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D&D 5e Discussion

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Posts

  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Eh. It's true.

    I am not saying D&D can't do other things, it's just the rules for such things have always been kinda minimal.

    Like handing a kid a tool box and saying "Build yourself a birdhouse." With a bunch of time, effort, luck and likely many failed attempts you might end up with a bird house. You're way more likely to end up with a board with a couple nails in it and a kid who thinks birdhouses are stupid.

    OminousLozengebsshippofant
  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Registered User regular
    We should really start a new thread, guys.

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  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    If it weren't about combat you'd think there'd be more thought put into the mechanics that aren't about combat.

    This. The question of aboutness isn't regarding what you can do in the game, it's about what the designers spent time on in the product. 3e, 4e, and so far 5e have had very perfunctory thoughts on non-combat situations. Roll a couple skills successfully and call it a day. 4e probably had the most non-combat focus of those three (I can't speak well enough to the earlier editions) just because skill challenges were a thing (that Wizards botched for a while, but that's neither here nor there). They had something above the bare minimum regarding non-combat situations.

    Compare this to say, 13th Age, which has some mechanics that stand apart from the d20 system, specifically (and exclusively) for modeling your PC's relationship to the important NPCs and organizations of the world. Or, on the extreme end, Exalted 2e, which in social combat basically said "you know all those rules we have for physical "I'm going to kill you" combat? You can use them while talking to people too. Here's how you calculate your social initiative, what your social defenses are, how you make social attacks. Hell, we even have social magic for the characters that are supernaturally boss at this."

    So, if 5e isn't about combat, what is it about? I have no idea, but given the length used to describe characters ("Hill Dwarf Wizard of the Academic Tradition Artisan Brewer Endurance Specialist") maybe it's supposed to be a PC modeling language where you put together interesting characters and then go "yeah, that's a pretty tight description of that guy" and then have tons of context on how it reacts to the 10-second long combat?

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    1st, eventually, had non-weapon proficiency slots. You didn't get much of them and the checks were all based directly off attributes. They were also mainly professions/crafts/whatever.

    2nd, basically, had this same thing but it eventually got hijacked into using these slots for other more combat-y useful stuff so.....you can guess how that ended.

    Oh yeah, these slots were the same slots you used to learn languages on a one for one basis. Unless you want to read and write, then it's another slot per a language.

  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    bss wrote: »
    If it weren't about combat you'd think there'd be more thought put into the mechanics that aren't about combat.

    This. The question of aboutness isn't regarding what you can do in the game, it's about what the designers spent time on in the product. 3e, 4e, and so far 5e have had very perfunctory thoughts on non-combat situations. Roll a couple skills successfully and call it a day. 4e probably had the most non-combat focus of those three (I can't speak well enough to the earlier editions) just because skill challenges were a thing (that Wizards botched for a while, but that's neither here nor there). They had something above the bare minimum regarding non-combat situations.
    This isn't really how it works. You can have a game with a finely tuned, highly detailed combat system that took the designers years to perfect and it still doesn't necessarily mean combat is the focus of the game.

    What it means is combat is something that's really important to get right, mechanically. There are a few reasons for this:
    - It's something that can't be modelled at the table through the regular conversation between players and GM, like social and exploration stuff can.
    - It's something that's expected to be handled in some detail. Games where combat engagements are handled in a single roll or without any tactical decisions are a rare thing indeed.
    - Successes and failures are best treated as partial. One hit will rarely end the combat and getting hit once will rarely wipe out the group. Players that get nearly killed in a single hit will use this information to alter their original plan.
    - It's directly linked to the life and death of player characters, which means some GMs will want mechanics there to help them handle the situation in the right way. Similarly, players will want to feel the combat has been handled fairly.

    None of these points apply to Exploration nearly as often and I'd consider it just as important to D&D as combat.

    As with so many things proper support for the Exploration and Interaction "pillars" relies on the GM advice section and adventure design. If your adventure is a linear dungeon of combat encounters then your game is about combat. If it's a city sandbox then it's more likely to support all three, just as a great dungeon can.

  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    edited December 2012
    You're not arguing against what I'm saying. In play, yes, they're all important. The books devote most of their time to one pillar though. If you spend 90% of a rulebook on the combat pillar, you are not making it be about exploration or interaction pillars. You state that combat has all the crunchy bits and urgency, so that's why it gets so many rules, but that's a circular argument. I could just as readily create a game that focused on expert exploration, and model the intricacies of each small gain exploring a cave, tightly manage water rations and pitons and all sorts of exploration minutiae, track six relevant abilities in navigation, so on. I could readily create a game where, if you fail an important "interaction pillar" "combat", you died. Not as a consequence of your failures down the road, but you're engaged in some kind of abyssal debate with some insanely powerful demon and the consequence of losing the debate is your existence is unraveled by the forces of the universe.

    So yes, D&D does have exploration and interaction phases, and they can be immensely important to an adventure or campaign, but this is my litmus test:

    How many chapters of the core books (PHB/DMG/MM) do you keep if you do only combat? Roughly all of them, maybe only half of the DMG.
    How many chapters if you're only running exploration? A chapter or three (basic chargen, skills) of the PHB, maybe half the DMG.
    How many chapters for only interaction? The same couple chapters of the PHB, maybe a chapter or two of the DMG, maybe a couple pages of the MM for the intelligent baddies.

    If in removing a pillar you are excising huge portions of the core books from your game, that says to me the game's focus is that pillar. That just seems logical to me, and in practice, if I were playing no-combat fantasy, I would stay miles away from D&D.

    Put another way, if I were focusing (like "I want the game I created to stand out regarding..." focus) on the exploration or interaction pillars, I would give those elements a lot more time in the book than D&D does.

    bss on
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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    It's funny SUPERSUGA, I read your reasons for supporting your thesis and I see them as undermining it.

    Combat is the "game" portion of D&D. It has other parts but they are less "games" and more about creative expression.

  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    Sounds like I didn't explain that very well.

    My main point is that I don't buy into the idea that lots of rules for combat rules means your game is about combat. The reasons for why combat gets special treatment when it comes to mechanics are in my last post.

    You could make a game with incredibly in-depth exploration rules, as you mentioned, but the fact is exploration isn't the same as combat. Again, my reasons were in the last post but I'll try and trim it down a little.

    Combat is all about small steps towards someone probably dying. These steps are both choices and rolls. Lots of little choices happening over very high stakes tends to mean lots of rules to keep things structured.

    Exploration can have small steps but this tends to be the back-and-forth of conversation between players and GM. The consequences also tend to be less severe, though traps are a clear exception*.

    Interaction's small steps are simply parts of a conversation and are easily workable without using many rolls. We all have some degree of social awareness so have a better chance of working out what feels right. Rolls may play a small part here but few groups would roll after every part of a conversation.


    *This is a great example of why interactive, multi-step traps are great and instant-kill pit traps are lame. Even for these highly interactive traps you don't need as many rules as combat, as traps tend to be highly predictable and specific in their responses. Pressing the pressure plate triggers the garotte wire. Lying to the statue causes it to swing an axe at you. There isn't nearly as much complexity and unpredictability as in combat.
    Trap design is something I'd love to see WotC handle well, as it has been handled very poorly in the playtest material I've seen.

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    For what you're arguing, it might be helpful to separate out "game" from "experience" or even "session". A D&D experience (or any RPG experience really) might include combat, exploration, and interaction, but the game, that is, the system of rules which you are using, is primarily about combat. The game is about combat, because that's the thing that the product you purchased helps you play. The rest is a part of the experience or session, but could be (and often is) run with little or no input from the game at all.

    RiemannLiveswildwoodAegeri
  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    It's funny SUPERSUGA, I read your reasons for supporting your thesis and I see them as undermining it.

    Combat is the "game" portion of D&D. It has other parts but they are less "games" and more about creative expression.
    I've definitely misrepresented myself, then.

    My own tastes are very much weighted towards the "game" part of the hobby and less of the "roleplaying". As a player I love the idea of taking on a challenge and trying to win as part of a group.

    Yeah, winning in D&D. I went there.

    I look at the exploration and interaction pillars and still see them as very much a game. It's a problem solving game, more than a numbers or tactical positioning game. They still have rules and mechanics, but not nearly as many as combat does.

    I have little interest in crafting a story or a memorable character. That stuff does happen for me, but as a natural side effect of play.

    If I play a game where the first half is spent interacting with NPCs to gather information about K'thar's Deathtower and the second half is spent carefully navigating the dungeon and bypassing clever traps I feel like I've played a game, even without any combat. This love of the problem solving aspect of the game is why I strive for adventures that can be approached in a number of ways. Every obstacle the players encounter should be able to be bypassed a number of ways, with combat being just one of your options.

    SUPERSUGA on
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Edit: Note this was written before I saw the immediately above post.

    I think I get your point a bit better but still disagree.

    "I'm going to go talk to the Duke about getting a reward for killing those kobolds."

    Cue a single Diplomacy check. Compute result. Optionally spend half an hour talking back and forth without referencing a single thing in any D&D rulebook.

    "Let's go kill them kobolds."

    Cue an hour long combat scenario where every ten seconds of character action results in possibly multiple checks of probability. Optionally....go back to the start of the previous sentence.

    If we're going on "Optionally" it seems the rules don't really say much about either of these two courses. Sticking the the primaries it is clear one received a much greater amount of attention, detail and focus.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    1. What Denada beat me to saying before I accidentally cleared my input box god i hate elinks

    2. I think you explained your point fine, I just think it's kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy, because to me it reads like combat gets all the rules because it's the important one where all the life-or-death things happen and where all the detail rests. Well, yeah, that's what we're talking about. D&D (the game, in the Denada definition) chose to put the focus there. It's not a universal rule that the focus always be there.

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  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    "I'm going to go talk to the Duke about getting a reward for killing those kobolds."

    Cue a single Diplomacy check. Compute result. Optionally spend half an hour talking back and forth without referencing a single thing in any D&D rulebook.

    "Let's go kill them kobolds."

    Cue an hour long combat scenario where every ten seconds of character action results in possibly multiple checks of probability. Optionally....go back to the start of the previous sentence.
    Well, for what it's worth my experience tends towards running fast combats. I wouldn't want the conversation with the Duke to take longer than five minutes or so but similarly I wouldn't want a combat with a group of kobolds to take more than, say, fifteen minutes.

    Another thing that's complicating this conversation is the fact that combat speed differs so vastly between different editions of the game.

    I think we probably agree more than it seems! Combat is definitely an important thing, I'm just wary of it being considered the "main thing". I guess we're getting into semantics on that, though.

    So can someone make my day and tell me there's a well-designed trap in the latest playtest package? I don't have it to hand.

  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    "I'm going to go talk to the Duke about getting a reward for killing those kobolds."

    Cue a single Diplomacy check. Compute result. Optionally spend half an hour talking back and forth without referencing a single thing in any D&D rulebook.

    "Let's go kill them kobolds."

    Cue an hour long combat scenario where every ten seconds of character action results in possibly multiple checks of probability. Optionally....go back to the start of the previous sentence.
    Well, for what it's worth my experience tends towards running fast combats. I wouldn't want the conversation with the Duke to take longer than five minutes or so but similarly I wouldn't want a combat with a group of kobolds to take more than, say, fifteen minutes.

    Another thing that's complicating this conversation is the fact that combat speed differs so vastly between different editions of the game.

    I think we probably agree more than it seems! Combat is definitely an important thing, I'm just wary of it being considered the "main thing". I guess we're getting into semantics on that, though.

    So can someone make my day and tell me there's a well-designed trap in the latest playtest package? I don't have it to hand.

    I think I'm going to make a point that sounds pedantic but isn't intended to be.

    D&D, the game system is focused on combat.

    D&D, the experience of playing it is rarely less than 40% combat before it stops being recognizable as D&D.

    Do you have much issue with these statements?

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    So can someone make my day and tell me there's a well-designed trap in the latest playtest package? I don't have it to hand.

    Sadly, no. Every trap in all three adventures follows the same formula:

    1) Intelligence check to detect
    2) Dexterity check to avoid
    3) Damage and/or condition

  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    Forget realism. All traps should announce themselves, unless the characters are sprinting or visually impaired. Then the fun can begin.

    Players will still find a way to set them off occasionally and when they do it's all their own fault.

  • LeperLeper Registered User regular
    I'm coming in closer to Super on this on, I think, so let me take a stab at it:

    We're talking about design here, and every part of a design should have a purpose. (even if it's just ornamentation) From my POV, in an RPG the purpose for the rules is to resolve conflicts fairly (and hopefully also in an interesting way) between players. (Players in this sense includes our GM)
    That conflict could be PvP, PvE, or PvNPC, but whichever, it should work fairly, work in a way that is (usually) predictable and replicable, and hopefully is fun to all involved parties.

    Rules tell us what our characters can do, but also what they cannot. In combat, this is particularly important in light of the consequences for failure, so we usually see a decent amount of rules focused here.

    Even in supposedly "RP-centric" games you seldom see this not be the case. Most Exploration/Interaction systems boil down to a few core mechanics (roll like this for this, roll like that for that, and here's a third kind of roll you'll probably never use just in case) and then list upon list of skills/proficiencies/knowledges/abilities/etc. that you plug into your core mechanics.

    I'll say that any game that fails to address exploration at all in its rules has certainly missed the boat, and at least some cursory rules should be given for interaction, even in the most laissez-faire system, however saddling interaction and exploration down with huge chunks of rules can become constrictive. My personal tastes run towards light rules out-of-combat so every conversation with an NPC or run-in with a locked door doesn't require multiple rolls and consulting charts.

    Some people may well want to spend an hour rolling dice to resolve a 5 minute in-game argument, (and that's cool with me) but that's what we call roll-playing at my table. You can role-play while you roll-play (within bounds) and you can just role-play or just roll-play. I won't argue either is mutually exclusive, but I will say that trying to mix the two will not always work out well. We generally avoid roll-play, and would (shockingly!) avoid any system that insisted on it.

    If my role play is hindered by rolling to play, then I'd prefer the rolls play right, instead of steam-rolling play-night.
  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    "I'm going to go talk to the Duke about getting a reward for killing those kobolds."

    Cue a single Diplomacy check. Compute result. Optionally spend half an hour talking back and forth without referencing a single thing in any D&D rulebook.

    "Let's go kill them kobolds."

    Cue an hour long combat scenario where every ten seconds of character action results in possibly multiple checks of probability. Optionally....go back to the start of the previous sentence.
    Well, for what it's worth my experience tends towards running fast combats. I wouldn't want the conversation with the Duke to take longer than five minutes or so but similarly I wouldn't want a combat with a group of kobolds to take more than, say, fifteen minutes.

    Another thing that's complicating this conversation is the fact that combat speed differs so vastly between different editions of the game.

    I think we probably agree more than it seems! Combat is definitely an important thing, I'm just wary of it being considered the "main thing". I guess we're getting into semantics on that, though.

    So can someone make my day and tell me there's a well-designed trap in the latest playtest package? I don't have it to hand.

    I think I'm going to make a point that sounds pedantic but isn't intended to be.

    (1) D&D, the game system is focused on combat.

    (2) D&D, the experience of playing it is rarely less than 40% combat before it stops being recognizable as D&D.

    Do you have much issue with these statements?
    As long as you trust that I'm not trying to be pedantic in my response!

    (1) If you're talking about the rules that you buy the book for then you're right. The physical game rulebook has more focus on combat than other things. If you look at modules or homemade adventures, however, I'd argue that well-designed examples would be less focused on one pillar of the game.

    (2) I don't agree with this one, assuming you're talking in terms of percentage of game time spent on combat. There are probably many D&D groups that have games that are at least half combat but my experience has varied wildly up and down from this number. I wouldn't be able to put a figure to it, but I know played D&D sessions that felt like D&D but weren't >40% combat.

  • valiancevaliance Registered User regular
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    This blogpost does a good job of explaining why d&d isn't necessarily "about combat" just because it has a lot of rules for it.

    http://revolution21days.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/why-d-has-lots-of-rules-for-combat.html

    You could argue its war gaming roots would tie the game to combat but it's pretty clear that d&d became something different soon after its birth from chainmail.

    I've read it before and I love that post. The post it links to is also good: http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2010/07/heres-some-advanced-rpg-theory-for-you.html
    poshniallo wrote: »
    poshniallo wrote: »
    The thing with RPGs is how about all us average GMs?

    That's where design matters.


    And of course, there are lots more of us average GMs than the maladjusted fuckmuppets or the bardic geniuses.

    Also, as an old man with kid and job to take care of, I might be able to find my hidden bardic genius, had I the time. But I don't. So I don't have time to balance your game for you, WOTC. I have time to GM semi-improv narrativist games, because they don't expect me to have unlimited free time.

    :^: good point. if what WOTC comes up with isn't better than both a) their previous products and b) what you could've come up with yourself, why use their rules?

  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    We're gonna need a bigger new thread.

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  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Registered User regular
    Saying that D&D isn't a game about combat is silly. Pages upon pages, likely 80% if not more of the PHB, is focused on combat rules and mechanics. So obiviously, with so much of the material focusing on combat, you are going to spend most of your time at the gaming table in combat.

    Let's take a look at a few games that have a much different focus than D&D. GUMSHOE presents the players with perfect information about a scene then it is their job to interpert the information using their skills. I'm not sure about the mechanics of The One Ring, but I understand the rules largely focus on traveling long distances, weariness, and fear. L5R RPG puts the largest focus on interaction and deadly combat. In fact, the combat is so deadly that it actually reinforces the interaction - players would rather use interaction than a blade to accomplish their goals because they don't want to die. In all of these games the player end up spending more time on the areas the rules of the game focus. All of these games dedicate less pages to combat rules than D&D does. Obviously combat is not non-existent in those games, so why is that so much of the time at the table with D&D spent in combat? Because the emphasis by the rules in the game are on combat.

    If you want to add more interaction and exploration to D&D, then you'll need to add mechanics/rules for that. This is either going to increase your page count or you'll have to cut back on the number pages dedicated to combat. Either way, you end up with a much different game than D&D and the expereinces at the gaming table are different because the rules have a different focus.

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    1) Hmm....I think modules aren't really what I'm talking about, they kinda fall into the "creative expression" part. If the rules made the job of modules easier or what have you I'd say that counts.

    2) I'd say it has to be measured over the long term, spikes one way or the other are inevitable. It was obviously just a random made up number, but I wasn't including the inevitable bullshit/joking/friend talk that happens around the table.

    I also realized that both of these were D&D as it has been. On the balance thing, I would welcome something that made the other parts a bit more "game" like but nobody seems to be interested in doing the mental pick and shovel work that would be required.

    Maybe they'll do it as a rules module....

  • LeperLeper Registered User regular
    I think they drank the Gygax kool-ade.

    "The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." --Good ol' Gary.

    The problems are:
    a. It's partially true. GMs can make their own rules, but most GMs know they aren't game designers, and the more than a few that think they are are absolute shit at it. That brings us to:
    b. Whatever the source, GMs need good, fair, and fun rules.
    c. even if this was wholly true, it's not a secret anymore. Found that quote in ~5 seconds on a Google search.

    WotC probably figures we buy their rules because even though "we know we don't need them" we just like handing them money for anything they put out. While this is true of a certain (small) subset of the market, the rest of us would like some quality, dammit. Quality is the reason I bought Paizo adventures (usually pretty good) when I was too lazy to make my own and then immediately converted them away from their system. (I'm sure I have something positive to say about their copy/paste ruleset... but nothing comes to mind.)

    If my role play is hindered by rolling to play, then I'd prefer the rolls play right, instead of steam-rolling play-night.
  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    valiance wrote: »
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    This blogpost does a good job of explaining why d&d isn't necessarily "about combat" just because it has a lot of rules for it.

    http://revolution21days.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/why-d-has-lots-of-rules-for-combat.html

    You could argue its war gaming roots would tie the game to combat but it's pretty clear that d&d became something different soon after its birth from chainmail.

    I've read it before and I love that post. The post it links to is also good: http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2010/07/heres-some-advanced-rpg-theory-for-you.html
    I doubt he's very popular around these parts but Zak talks a lot of sense when it comes to D&D. I could link a dozen or so of his posts that I feel are pretty much essential reading.

  • LeperLeper Registered User regular
    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    Saying that D&D isn't a game about combat is silly. Pages upon pages, likely 80% if not more of the PHB, is focused on combat rules and mechanics. So obiviously, with so much of the material focusing on combat, you are going to spend most of your time at the gaming table in combat.

    Let's take a look at a few games that have a much different focus than D&D. [...] Obviously combat is not non-existent in those games, so why is that so much of the time at the table with D&D spent in combat? Because the emphasis by the rules in the game are on combat.

    If you want to add more interaction and exploration to D&D, then you'll need to add mechanics/rules for that. This is either going to increase your page count or you'll have to cut back on the number pages dedicated to combat. Either way, you end up with a much different game than D&D and the expereinces at the gaming table are different because the rules have a different focus.

    Facile argument.

    When we played OD&D, Basic, and 2e, we averaged about one combat every 3 sessions. We were young and unemployed, so the average session was anywhere from 8 to 12 hours in length. Someone's already explained exactly how many non-combat mechanics those systems had.

    In part we avoided combat because combat was not fun. It was long, and either utterly simplistic or overly complicated and there was no room in between. It was random and unpredictable. We'd one shot a dragon and then get our asses handed to us by a handful of goblins. In short: we hated it.

    Would you say old D&D was all about roleplay because its shitty rules discouraged combat and encouraged interaction? I hope not.

    The games you mentioned "focus" on other parts of the gaming experience, but (by and large) they discourage combat by having a poor and restrictive design for it. Note the phrasing there: they don't encourage exploration and interaction, they punish you for wanting to have fun in combat.

    I won't say D&D has historically done an excellent job of encouraging out-of-combat play, but I will say that at least it's done a decent job of not shoving a red-hot poker up your ass every time you try to do something that doesn't involve an initiative roll.

    If my role play is hindered by rolling to play, then I'd prefer the rolls play right, instead of steam-rolling play-night.
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Leper wrote: »
    I think they drank the Gygax kool-ade.

    "The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." --Good ol' Gary.

    The problems are:
    a. It's partially true. GMs can make their own rules, but most GMs know they aren't game designers, and the more than a few that think they are are absolute shit at it. That brings us to:
    b. Whatever the source, GMs need good, fair, and fun rules.
    c. even if this was wholly true, it's not a secret anymore. Found that quote in ~5 seconds on a Google search.

    WotC probably figures we buy their rules because even though "we know we don't need them" we just like handing them money for anything they put out. While this is true of a certain (small) subset of the market, the rest of us would like some quality, dammit. Quality is the reason I bought Paizo adventures (usually pretty good) when I was too lazy to make my own and then immediately converted them away from their system. (I'm sure I have something positive to say about their copy/paste ruleset... but nothing comes to mind.)

    My current view on rules are that they should be a time/effort multiplier.

    I can lift a heavy hunk of metal by hand but I would much rather use a pulley and hoist. I can detail a complicated dungeon by hand using a piece of paper and my imagination but I'd much rather we had some D&D equivalent of a pulley and hoist.

  • LeperLeper Registered User regular
    My current view on rules are that they should be a time/effort multiplier.

    I can lift a heavy hunk of metal by hand but I would much rather use a pulley and hoist. I can detail a complicated dungeon by hand using a piece of paper and my imagination but I'd much rather we had some D&D equivalent of a pulley and hoist.
    I can respect that.

    I'm not sure exactly what you're asking for in the last bit, though. A built in random dungeon generator or premade modules or...?

    If my role play is hindered by rolling to play, then I'd prefer the rolls play right, instead of steam-rolling play-night.
  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Registered User regular
    Leper wrote: »
    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    Saying that D&D isn't a game about combat is silly. Pages upon pages, likely 80% if not more of the PHB, is focused on combat rules and mechanics. So obiviously, with so much of the material focusing on combat, you are going to spend most of your time at the gaming table in combat.

    Let's take a look at a few games that have a much different focus than D&D. [...] Obviously combat is not non-existent in those games, so why is that so much of the time at the table with D&D spent in combat? Because the emphasis by the rules in the game are on combat.

    If you want to add more interaction and exploration to D&D, then you'll need to add mechanics/rules for that. This is either going to increase your page count or you'll have to cut back on the number pages dedicated to combat. Either way, you end up with a much different game than D&D and the expereinces at the gaming table are different because the rules have a different focus.

    Facile argument.

    When we played OD&D, Basic, and 2e, we averaged about one combat every 3 sessions. We were young and unemployed, so the average session was anywhere from 8 to 12 hours in length. Someone's already explained exactly how many non-combat mechanics those systems had.

    In part we avoided combat because combat was not fun. It was long, and either utterly simplistic or overly complicated and there was no room in between. It was random and unpredictable. We'd one shot a dragon and then get our asses handed to us by a handful of goblins. In short: we hated it.

    Would you say old D&D was all about roleplay because its shitty rules discouraged combat and encouraged interaction? I hope not.

    The games you mentioned "focus" on other parts of the gaming experience, but (by and large) they discourage combat by having a poor and restrictive design for it. Note the phrasing there: they don't encourage exploration and interaction, they punish you for wanting to have fun in combat.

    I won't say D&D has historically done an excellent job of encouraging out-of-combat play, but I will say that at least it's done a decent job of not shoving a red-hot poker up your ass every time you try to do something that doesn't involve an initiative roll.

    Goal post changing. I can be a smart ass, too.

    So basically, you never actually used the rules? How exactly does this prove that my argument is facile when my argument is that the rules encourage a particular style of play? If you choose to ignore those rules, well then of course you're going to have an experience that is completely different from the actual game. Duh.

    You completely gloss-over/handwave that the games are specifically designed to encourage their particular playstyles then assume they punish you for wanting to have fun in combat without providing examples. I'll admit L5R does but it is ment to simulate quick and deadly samurai action, which it does quite well, and if you survive it rewards you by making you feel like a bad-ass. It's not my cup of tea, because I perfer more heroic combat, but some people dig that sort of thing. But it does make that combat exciting. Something oD&D never accomplished because, as you said, combat was boring despite that 90% of the rules in the book being about combat.

    I don't even understand wtf your talking about with that bolded statement. You just said those games punish you for participating in combat (without providing examples and evidence). Then you turn around and say they don't punish you? Which is it? Did you mean every time it DOES involve an initiative roll? That would make more sense but I already addressed that.

    // PSN: wyrd_warrior // MHW Name: Josei //
  • LeperLeper Registered User regular
    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    Goal post changing. I can be a smart ass, too.
    You'll have to work on it, because it's not coming across as all that smart.

    It was a direct response to your claim that because other systems discouraged combat by making their combat rules a thing to avoid using they must be "encouraging" the other two. My point was that not only is that indirect encouragement at best, but it's a shitty way to do it. You're free to address that counterpoint at any time. Instead I see you went right to:
    So basically, you never actually used the rules? How exactly does this prove that my argument is facile when my argument is that the rules encourage a particular style of play? If you choose to ignore those rules, well then of course you're going to have an experience that is completely different from the actual game. Duh.
    I didn't say I never used the rules, I said we avoided using rules because those rules were designed in such a way that they were not fun. This is a direct corollary to your "well these games have rules that make you avoid combat, so they're obviously about everything else!" D&D had rules that made us avoid combat, and I certainly wouldn't argue that made it an exploration/interaction-centric system.
    You completely gloss-over/handwave that the games are specifically designed to encourage their particular playstyles then assume they punish you for wanting to have fun in combat without providing examples. I'll admit L5R does but it is ment to simulate quick and deadly samurai action, which it does quite well, and if you survive it rewards you by making you feel like a bad-ass. It's not my cup of tea, because I perfer more heroic combat, but some people dig that sort of thing. But it does make that combat exciting. Something oD&D never accomplished because, as you said, combat was boring despite that 90% of the rules in the book being about combat.
    Actually a lot of the basic rules were not about combat. A lot of them were about magic, which was even more useful out of combat than in it. And I didn't gloss over anything. I simply addressed that the way in which you're claiming they're "Encouraging" A&B is by effectively saying "we give you painfully unplayable options for C and then you'll avoid it," and (again) pointed out that by your reasoning OD&D was RP/Exploration/Interaction heaven.
    I don't even understand wtf your talking about with that bolded statement. You just said those games punish you for participating in combat (without providing examples and evidence*). Then you turn around and say they don't punish you? Which is it? Did you mean every time it DOES involve an initiative roll? That would make more sense but I already addressed that.
    * You provided the examples, actually, that's why I quoted you.

    And you seem to have misread... or are trying to create a straw man against which you may argue. I said (by your own examples) the other games have lacking and undesirable combat. In this fashion they are not encouraging out-of-combat play, they are just discouraging combat play. (This is the difference between offering to give you money to do something, or threatening to beat you up and take your money if you don't do what I want.)

    I pointed out that if you consider discouraging one option by bad design to be encouragement of the other facets, then OD&D (by your reasoning) was all about Exploration/Interaction, despite having lacking rules for it. (for the most part)

    Then I said that while D&D has not classically supported Exploration and Interaction with a heavy ruleset, it certainly never discouraged anyone from exploration/interaction by intentionally designing those rules to be painful to use.

    I'm not sure where you got confused, as all of those are related (but very different) statements.

    If my role play is hindered by rolling to play, then I'd prefer the rolls play right, instead of steam-rolling play-night.
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Leper wrote: »
    My current view on rules are that they should be a time/effort multiplier.

    I can lift a heavy hunk of metal by hand but I would much rather use a pulley and hoist. I can detail a complicated dungeon by hand using a piece of paper and my imagination but I'd much rather we had some D&D equivalent of a pulley and hoist.
    I can respect that.

    I'm not sure exactly what you're asking for in the last bit, though. A built in random dungeon generator or premade modules or...?

    As it doesn't exist yet I can't really describe it.

    With the way RPG's have progressed I'm not certain it's what anybody is looking for. I want something akin to what BAB was to THAC0, though that's a super easy example to spot. Consolidation of defenses and 5 saves with non-intuitive progressions is a better example.

  • LeperLeper Registered User regular
    Look, the overall point I am actually trying to make here (aside from disproving "we can make facet A&B great by making option C suck!") is that the amount of pages in a book devoted to a type of mechanics doesn't mean dick, really. It can be a good indicator of where the focus of the development took place, but it needn't be.

    I've got books on my shelf where 75% of the rules layout is based on character creation. Is it a game where we spend 75% of our time just making characters, and if we do otherwise we're doing it wrong? No.

    Complexity of the design (as indicated by pages needed to contain the system) isn't always an indicator of focus, and it's spurious to claim it always is.

    Take for instance a couple of chairs:
    (this analogy isn't perfect and doesn't extend forever, but hopefully you'll get the gist)

    One is a big wicker monstrosity. You could actually make one yourself, but it's complex and takes all sorts of work with reeds and lacquer and much, much, much weaving. It's complex in design and describing the construction and design in genuine detail would take forever.

    The other is something more like what I've got around my dining room table: solid wood, 4 legs, solid back, padded seat. You could make your own with a straight edge and a saw, and describing the construction and design is a simple geometric process.

    The end result of both is that you put your ass on a cushion, and one or the other may be more to someone's liking, but the main difference (Aside from preference) is really that one just takes a lot more planning to get to the same result as the other.

    If my role play is hindered by rolling to play, then I'd prefer the rolls play right, instead of steam-rolling play-night.
  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    Yeah, but, me and my group go sessions without sitting down.

    zaku.png
    Steam PSN: DerWaffleMous Origin: DerWaffleMous Bnet: DerWaffle#1682
  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Oh for fuck's sake with the block quoting, again. Please don't do that. I'm asking nicely.

    If the majority of the rules are for combat, and you spend most of the game not using those rules or using them sporadically, then you are ignoring the rules. What applies to your group does not apply to the entire D&D playerbase. I don't see how this is a difficult concept to grasp.

    You took one example (L5R) then assumed it to the others (GUMSHOE, The One Ring, etc.). Just because it's true in doesn't automatically make it true for all of them.

    I think you should go actually read GUMSHOE, The One Ring or even Fiasco to understand how truly different from D&D they are. You seem to be under the assumption that the operate in a way that is familiar to D&D. They do not. They are foreign to D&D and upon first reading won't make much sense because they don't follow the standard tropes. Most RPGs do follow the standard Attribute/Skill/Combat established in D&D. L5R, WoD, Savage Worlds, Shadowrun, the list goes on and on. GUMSHOE, The One Ring, FATE/FUDGE, Burning Wheel, Fiasco in particular break story gaming at some fundemental level. Or even just go give Dungeon World a read. It will have troupes that are familiar but quickly breaks into something else.

    But that was my point - when you remove focus from combat, you end up with a product that is seems foreign to the what is ingrained in most gamers' minds as what makes it an RPG. If you're going to expand social interaction, then you need more than just "Roll your Diplomacy skill". It will no longer be recognizable because entirely new mechanics will have to be established to make them function.

    More than 90% of spells apply to combat or have combat applications. Fireball, Cure Light Wounds, Lightning Bolt, Magic Missle, Polymorph, Harm, Burning Hands, etc. etc. Ergo, they are part of the combat rules. Just because Knock and Feather Fall exist doesn't mean that the 50+ pages of other combat-related spells don't count as part of the combat rules. But even the non-combat spell have rules about how the operate within combat timing and such. I know its a lot more than 50 pages than that but I hesistate to say how many because it's been a long time since I looked at it.

    I was making light of the fact that you had a double negative which caused the statement to be in direct contradiction to what you had previously said. I know, English is hard.

    Mikey CTS on
    // PSN: wyrd_warrior // MHW Name: Josei //
  • RiemannLivesRiemannLives Registered User regular
    Mikey, I'm not going to quote you here because all of your posts depend entirely on one completely flawed assumption.

    More physical pages of rules does not and should not correlate to the amount of play time spent on the portions of the game covered by those rules.

    If you can make your point without that bunk assumption then we can try to engage with you on specifics.

    In just about any game, especially in well designed games (and not just RPGs but board games as well), the rules needed to describe the normal situations that come up in play are very short and simple but cover the majority of play time. Usually the bulk of the written rules are there to cover the less common but more complicated edge cases and oddities.

    The normal and excpected course of events is that you spend the majority of playtime in a given game in situations covered by a minority of the printed rules; only using the rest as needed to cover edge cases.

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    Mikey, I'm not going to quote you here because all of your posts depend entirely on one completely flawed assumption.

    More physical pages of rules does not and should not correlate to the amount of play time spent on the portions of the game covered by those rules.

    If you can make your point without that bunk assumption then we can try to engage with you on specifics.

    In just about any game, especially in well designed games (and not just RPGs but board games as well), the rules needed to describe the normal situations that come up in play are very short and simple but cover the majority of play time. Usually the bulk of the written rules are there to cover the less common but more complicated edge cases and oddities.

    The normal and excpected course of events is that you spend the majority of playtime in a given game in situations covered by a minority of the printed rules; only using the rest as needed to cover edge cases.

    So the D&D4E combat rules are the edge cases and oddities?

    That's not true at all.

    That may be true of some Boardgame rulebooks. Not RPGs.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • valiancevaliance Registered User regular
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    valiance wrote: »
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »
    This blogpost does a good job of explaining why d&d isn't necessarily "about combat" just because it has a lot of rules for it.

    http://revolution21days.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/why-d-has-lots-of-rules-for-combat.html

    You could argue its war gaming roots would tie the game to combat but it's pretty clear that d&d became something different soon after its birth from chainmail.

    I've read it before and I love that post. The post it links to is also good: http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2010/07/heres-some-advanced-rpg-theory-for-you.html
    I doubt he's very popular around these parts but Zak talks a lot of sense when it comes to D&D. I could link a dozen or so of his posts that I feel are pretty much essential reading.

    Agreed. I like this post on experience: http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2009/10/where-action-is-about-expreience-points.html and this on how DND evolves as you level up: http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2012/01/evolution.html

    His blog is a great read, and he isn't an edition warrior at all, but he seems unable to get along with people when he posts on forums or in comments.

  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    Mikey, I'm not going to quote you here because all of your posts depend entirely on one completely flawed assumption.

    More physical pages of rules does not and should not correlate to the amount of play time spent on the portions of the game covered by those rules.

    If you can make your point without that bunk assumption then we can try to engage with you on specifics.

    In just about any game, especially in well designed games (and not just RPGs but board games as well), the rules needed to describe the normal situations that come up in play are very short and simple but cover the majority of play time. Usually the bulk of the written rules are there to cover the less common but more complicated edge cases and oddities.

    The normal and excpected course of events is that you spend the majority of playtime in a given game in situations covered by a minority of the printed rules; only using the rest as needed to cover edge cases.

    dafuq?

    zaku.png
    Steam PSN: DerWaffleMous Origin: DerWaffleMous Bnet: DerWaffle#1682
    Mikey CTS
  • AssuranAssuran Is swinging on the Spiral Registered User regular
    Why would I want tons of rules based on things I'm hardly ever going to see in practice? What use is that to me?

    Things like that can be covered under general rules/advice like page 42 of the 4E DMG.

    DnD always has lent itself more towards combat and magic; if I wanted a non-combat type system, I'd be playing things like Star Wars d6, Ghostbusters d6, White Wolf games, Lot5R, Call of Cthulu, or various other things that do non combat better.

    Aegeribss
  • LeperLeper Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    <stop addressing all my points! I can't actually defend any of them other than to say "nuh-uh!" or "I don't have to prove my statements right, you have to prove my statements wrong in a way that I will admit you have proved them wrong which I am highly unlikely to do!">

    <I'm going to assume what games you have and haven't played, and then lecture you about those games and others you may have played, but I doubt it. Check my gamer cred. It is dope.>

    But that was my point* - when you remove focus from combat, you end up with a product that is seems foreign to the what is ingrained in most gamers' minds as what makes it an RPG. <You can't role-play in an RPG! You have to have dice that tell you what to do or it's not actual meaningful social interaction! You just don't recognize it because you obviously don't know as much about gaming as I do.>

    <provably false numerical claims followed by stretching the hell out of plausibility with some corner cases provided as "constant use" scenarios.>

    <I didn't actually read what you wrote, and apparently don't read what I write either, because> I know, English is hard.

    * Actually, that wasn't your point. Your point was that D&D was combat focused because it had so many rules for combat, and that other games that do a poor job of providing rules for combat "encourage" other kinds of play. Claiming that this new point was your point all along is ACTUAL goal post switching, as opposed to just claiming it, as you did previously. I'd be happy to discuss this new point, but since you haven't bothered to defend the first one in any reasonable fashion, I don't really see a point.

    I can only hope that this format of reply suits you better.

    Leper on
    If my role play is hindered by rolling to play, then I'd prefer the rolls play right, instead of steam-rolling play-night.
  • wildwoodwildwood Registered User regular
    Okay, I'm getting dizzy from this page count, so I started a new thread here.

    Vamanos!

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