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DnD 5e: Iconic is why.

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  • ChrysisChrysis Registered User regular
    It would matter more if you were using all of your expertise Martial Damage Dice for manoeuvres instead of just straight damage.

    But yeah, it certainly looks like your choice of weapon comes down to the other things it does rather than it's damage dice. Things like monster resistances and what magic items you get are going to play a big part I think.

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  • Mr_RoseMr_Rose 83 Blue Ridge Protects the Holy Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    oxybe wrote: »
    you know, i was just looking over my character, Xi, for the Playtest of Chaos and i realized something: weapon damage values are meaningless.
    Snip
    am i wrong here?

    I doubt it. Basically, 5e so far has achieved the precise opposite of its aims by combining the very worst of each previous edition rather than the very best.

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  • ChrysisChrysis Registered User regular
    Mr_Rose wrote: »
    I doubt it. Basically, 5e so far has achieved the precise opposite of its aims by combining the very worst of each previous edition rather than the very best.

    I thought that's what Monster Resistances and random Magic Items were when it came to weapon selection.

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  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    yyyyup.

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  • oxybeoxybe Entei is appaled and disappointed in you Registered User regular
    if it comes down to resistances being very common, then it's a return to rock-paper-scissors/pokemon gameplay: it doesn't come down to "did i choose the right weapon" but more "did i find/do i own the right weapon"... you'll stock up in as many different weapons as possible to cover as many situations as possible and your skill with individual weapons matters little as you're simply throwing/trying everything at the opposition until it stops moving (and this is ignoring the fact that there is no mechanical difference between a battleaxe fighter & longsword fighter to my knowledge).

    then you dice it into pieces, met it in acid, burn the sludge with fire and dump the whole thing in a jar and mail it to the north pole.

    otherwise i can see it coming back to having to carry around a golf-bag for fighters and rogues: a silvered scimitar, shortsword & quarterstaff (yes, it seems as per the rules you can get one of these), an adamantine scimitar, shortsword & quarterstaff and a cold iron scimitar, short sword & quarterstaff and whatever magic doohickey you can find, since all that matters is you're up against a [Steel] type so you better be using a [Fire], [Fighting] or [Ground]

    note i picked the scimitar, shortsword & quarterstaff because they were all finesse weapons of slashing/piercing/bludgeoning type.

    as a monk, Xi treats his punches as magical, adamantine, cold iron & silver for overcoming resistances. he doesn't care. everyone else though, needs to hope they picked the right starter or caught the right wild one, because the first gym is coming soon and we don't have the option to powerlevel before fighting him if we picked/found wrong. i have a handaxe & longspear if i need a damage type.

    if i wanted to play pokemon, i'd play pokemon.

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  • ChrysisChrysis Registered User regular
    For reference, I've looked quickly through the bestiary for roughly level 14 monsters. The Dracolich is resistant to Piercing (No! Bad Archer!), and the Stone Golem is immune to all non-magical weapons except Adamantine. It's good to be a Monk, until you run into something resistant to Bludgeoning. Most of the resistances seem to be to things that hurt Mages more than Fighters, such as oozes resisting Fire, Cold and Lightning, but not any physical types. Feel free to stab the ooze to full effect.

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  • oxybeoxybe Entei is appaled and disappointed in you Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Chrysis wrote: »
    For reference, I've looked quickly through the bestiary for roughly level 14 monsters. The Dracolich is resistant to Piercing (No! Bad Archer!), and the Stone Golem is immune to all non-magical weapons except Adamantine. It's good to be a Monk, until you run into something resistant to Bludgeoning. Most of the resistances seem to be to things that hurt Mages more than Fighters, such as oozes resisting Fire, Cold and Lightning, but not any physical types. Feel free to stab the ooze to full effect.

    a wizard shouldn't be casting damage spells anyways though, unless he's clearing the area of things like kobolds or goblins., as the damage scaling from spells can't really keep up with the monster HP (most wizard damage spells deal Xd6, whereas monsters have more then d6+con per HD, and you can very easily find monsters who's HD>level). a wizard is probably better off nerfing the monster for 2-3 turns via debuffs/SoDs (effectively removing it from combat) then blasting it round by round.

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  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    oxybe wrote: »
    you know, i was just looking over my character, Xi, for the Playtest of Chaos and i realized something: weapon damage values are meaningless.

    Xi is dealing 6d6+20 damage (5 dex + 15 class)... an average of 41 extra damage on top of his weapon's damage. which is either a d6 (3.5 avg) punch, a d4 (2.5 avg) handaxe or a d8 (4.5 avg) longspear.

    this would, IMO, indicate that you're probably better off to stop using your d12 maul and simply pickup a longsword & shield as you lose out on average 2 damage per attack, but you gain a +1 AC, which means quite a bit in bounded accuracy.

    heck, the more i'm looking at it, the less reason i see for using ANY 2-handed weapons beyond the occasional use of "reach" ones so you can poke at things or stuff like bows/crossbows for their obvious range use...

    am i wrong here? could i simply be over thinking things but using a 2-hander seems like a losing situation.

    in 4th ed your weapon damage value determined quite a bit of damage due to the [W] nomenclature on encounter & daily powers and in 3rd ed, most big die weapons were 2-handed which meant more strength and power attack to damage... in this case it was how many hands that mattered, but still: your choice of weapon affected it and it was a big enough choice to go "2-handed all out" or "sword & board, focus on defense".

    in 5th ed, it seems like a non-choice: your weapon damage value adds little to your overall damage, all 2-handing a weapon does is stops you from using a shield, and a shield gives you a +1 AC, which helps a lot in bounded accuracy.

    am i wrong here?

    You're right, and that must annoy the fuck out of the 4e people who got let go.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    You're right, and that must annoy the fuck out of the 4e people who got let go.

    Well, some of them are just enjoying creating games, probably.
    obskures.de: Your favorite game product you worked on (except 13th Age)?

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    Anyone know what Rich Baker is up to these days?

    Relatedly, I can't remember if this conversation showed up in this thread: I am sick to death of damage-by-weapon rather than damage-by-class, and also the related design of 50 specific weapons that all differ slightly, have the same damage die, but the one you want is behind specializations and feats.

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  • AntimatterAntimatter Devo Was Right Gates of SteelRegistered User regular
    i like the way gamma world does weaponry.

    oxybe
  • oxybeoxybe Entei is appaled and disappointed in you Registered User regular
    Antimatter wrote: »
    i like the way gamma world does weaponry.

    agreed.

    pick if it's heavy/finesse and the weapon type (one handed, two handed, ranged retrievable, ranged projectile). heavy weapons dealt more damage then the finesse ones of the same type, whereas the finesse ones hit more often. what the weapon is, is entirely the player's choice.

    i don't know if it was this thread or the previous one, but wouldn't mind seeing something that was a mix of the gamma world and the legend weapon ruleset (which is basically another "build a weapon", but you have less different frameworks for weapons then GW but weapons can each have different abilities). gamma world's scope + legend's depth would probably be my dream weapon system.

    at least that way we won't have a game that lists several weapon entries (battleaxe, warpick, flail, trident, warhammer & longsword) who's only differences are damage type (b/p/s) or weight/cost ratio and little else (the damage type is basically pokemon: pick the one you want until you can afford/get all of them, and the weight/cost just depends on how much you're carrying. the cost is a non-value as there is little beyond potions of healing to spend your cash on).

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  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    Yeah, 13th Age is definitely inspired by the Gamma World rules, which isn't surprising given that Rob and Rich probably shared a lot of notes at one time or another. (In 13th Age, each class has a table that breaks down to one-handed/two-handed against small/light/heavy and has a damage for each. Same idea for ranged. The entries are tuned to what the class would commonly be expected to do: the more martial classes have bigger damage, the frail casters have smaller damage and attack penalties for the big things. That's the entirety of the weapon rules, and just like GW the player is encouraged to describe what it is in their hands however they want.)

    I like what I remember of how Legend did their weapons, I think given a system where that level of detail was relevant, I'd like to have the above damage system plus "thing that trips" and so on. Weapons really need to get no more detailed than that.

    I had a short argument with someone who couldn't stand GW-style rules because "choice didn't matter" and then his side quickly broke down to "why would my character make an in-game choice to fight one way over another if it wasn't represented by what his weapon can do, that's illogical" and I realized he was a huge simulationist and I ran screaming from the conversation.

    Anyway, my core statement is that D&D wastes a lot of time talking about weapons when they're probably the least interesting thing to spend time on, given their total ubiquity. At best you pick one that's okay and move on, at worst you get some dude (or rules revision) telling you that your guy can't use katanas anymore because he didn't burn two feats on the choice and/or is the wrong class and/or other pointlessness.

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Legend is weapons do a 1d6 plus three abilities from a list. Some add extra traits, some modify damage, one mimics a shield.

    The last step in the creation process is "Pick a name that describes your weapon".

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  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    I would like weapon choice to matter a lot, actually. At least, if a spellcaster is going to have all these details (spells) that matter, I'd like for my fighter to be able to think about the details of his weapon choice.

    Basically like Gamma World, but with more keywords.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    I would like weapon choice to matter a lot, actually. At least, if a spellcaster is going to have all these details (spells) that matter, I'd like for my fighter to be able to think about the details of his weapon choice.

    Basically like Gamma World, but with more keywords.

    Well this is the nice thing about Legend's system. Those three choices are the important choices. This just stops the window dressing from dictating the contents of the window.

    I may just be partial because I always wanted to make a bad ass staff fighter in 2nd and it was pretty much impossible to not be horrible compared to other fighters or god help you dual wielders.
    It goes without saying that keeping up with the spellcasters was right out.

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  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    I agree in spirit, but the problem is that D&D doesn't get to the degree that the weapons' details matter much, and when it does, it tends to be wildly annoying (see: weapon speeds). So the easy thing (both from a design standpoint and making the players' lives easy) is to just turn everything into a couple pieces of math (attack bonus, damage, crit range) and call it a day, or put some keywords on it to make them mechanically different from the other pieces of metal with sharp edges.

    I'd rather have the fighter choose what he's doing (a la spells) with his tools, rather than the tool itself. I mean, it's not like the wizard is restricted to only using certain wands with certain spells. Pick a wand/orb/staff/totem/skull/whatever, eventually find one with some cool magical bonuses you like, call it a day. I'm cool with, when combat is abstracted as these games are, letting fighters work the same way.

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  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    I love legends system above all others. Being able to make a flamethrower and a blunderbuss all within the system in about 5 minutes is tops. It is just so damn flexible.

    One house rule we did is that legendary items or weapons they wanted to keep over the course of the game could be upgraded/enchanted to have more than the basic 3 effects.

    They ended up getting a sword that was brutal 3 w/ reach. The fighter loved that thing.

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  • oxybeoxybe Entei is appaled and disappointed in you Registered User regular
    the problem is that many martial types are sort of defined by his weapons, or at the very least their weapon of choice is a distinct part of their character.

    i've never heard about King Arthur's bec-de-corbin or his oak nunchuck, nor would i assumed he owned one or even used one.

    Guts, from the manga Berserk, has several weapons but they're all very particular due to his line of work: a sword that's basically a steel door on a hilt, an arm-mounted cannon, etc... because he fights giant demons. you'd never really see him use a knife in a serious fight.

    or One Piece's Zoro who uses three katanas and is actually hobbled when forced to use only one or two.

    all three characters are known warriors that use swords though and while all three are skilled, their choice of weapon is very much important.

    for a weapon choice to be anything more then just thematic, there needs to be some options with the weapons themselves. at that point we go back to the problem i listed i have with 5th ed: your choice of weapon matters very little as the differences between, say, a longsword and battleaxe are pretty much non-existent and the longsword and flail being "one cuts, the other bashes" where unless you have resistance to one or the other, there is no difference, and that the extra damage you deal with eclipses what you would deal with your weapon.

    a 5th ed fighter might as well just be fighting with a table leg as it's not really any more effective then a sword, all things considered.

    maybe one other part of the problem is the Fighter himself. specifically that you're tying to make Arthur, Guts & Zoro all the same class... but i think that's a point of discussion to be had in a later post. i've got quite a bit of rambling to do.

    saying you want the fighter to choose what he's doing with his tools rather then the tool itself makes little sense to me. if you have a typical "big heavy object" weapon, like a maul, it's not one that lends itself to disarming or tripping: it bashes hard on it's enemies defenses to the point where you can dislocate the defender's arm even if he blocks... it's a momentum and mass weapon, plain and simple.

    i'm very much saying that your choice of weapon should invariably lead to a certain style of combat and i'm not just saying that to be simulationist (or whatever they call it). it's something i see in many games...

    let's take a look at fire emblem.

    fire emblem uses the rock-paper-scissors for weapons: Axe > Lance > Sword > Axe. Axe user VS Lance user, Axe user gets a bonus to hit, which is grate since while axes have a high power they have a low hit. swords have a low power & high hit so swinging it at an axe user is pretty much an assured hit, whereas lances are the in-between weapon. now when you attack an enemy, you generally try to go with a weapon that either hits for advantage or of the same type if missing one. the different classes also use different weapons and tend to follow a few archetypes: the axe users are heavy damage dealers, swordsmen are agile and skillful and whereas lance-users are often either heavy knights or horseback riders.

    while Borderlands tends to have a stupid amount of minor variety between weapons, pistols are known for accuracy and handling, smgs & assault rifles for bullet output and damage, rockets for big damage and splash, snipers for range and damage, etc... and each character tends to be rather good in one or two of the different weapon types but isn't penalized for using the others (my Zer0 is easily summed up as "ninja with a shotgun" or "boomstick backstab"). different weapons in BL are useful in different situations (barring the late game super-weapons, natch), so even if i am better with my pistol & sniper i tend to also carry my boomstick & rocket launcher just in case i need to whip out that kind of hurt.

    to go one step further on "different weapon for different occasions": Batman Arkham Asylum/City. Bats is downright brutal in combat... he doesn't need weapons to clear a room of mooks... but it helps, and every tool at his disposal tends to have rather particular uses you can still use them interesting ways however. in AA i loved creating "blow the mook of the ledge" scenarios, where i'd place a remote mine on a wall near a ledge, throw a sonic batarang to get some mook's attention then blow him off it when he goes check it out... all from across the room. you can also use those mines in combat, dropping them on the ground mid-combo and exploding them on the confused mooks.

    that was entirely my choice of weapon mattering, and the reason it mattered is because the devs went through the trouble to make them matter.

    so instead of having power attack be a feat, have it be part of a weapon a "momentum" property you can choose for heavy weapons: lower your accuracy for more damage. if you want to make damage type matter a bit more then for just resistances, then for bludgeoning weapons you can choose a property like "battering" where you can still deal some damage on a miss as your blows batter their defenses.

    this could go quite a ways to making the choice of weapon matter. a Maul being a heavy 2-handed momentum weapon that still batters at an enemy's defenses on a block makes sense, is flavourful, and could be done in a GW/Legend piecemeal system pretty easily: pick one quality for category (heavy/finesse), one for type (piercing/bludgeoning/slashing) and if you really want to, one for size (1-handed, 2-handed, etc...).

    now, there are many ways to have character skill with the weapon come into play, but 5th ed's 6d6+stat+20 extra damage is the wrong way to go as all your weapon choice currently adds is maybe a d8 and not much more to that equation.

    i warned you about my ramblings.

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  • Twenty SidedTwenty Sided Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Leper wrote: »
    Your example is oddly rambly and long-winded. No offense, but I fail to see the dilemma you're trying to paint.
    Ox might be long-winded, but considering the complexity of the subject, it's rather concise. I fail to see how anyone with a modicum of sense can fail to understand how "+1 all the time" and "+X under variable durations and conditions" are not only inequal, but determining how to make "X" equal 1 is a complex proposition. Unless you're being purposefully dense.

    Also: "no offense," is bullshit, and you should probably drop the charade. I ain't buying it, and I doubt anyone else is. It would be akin to me saying, "no offense, but it's quite clear that you are a complete dumbass utterly bereft of the ability to form even the most basic of coherent thoughts concerning the subject which we are discussing, and despite what I'm sure you will claim is decades of play, you have failed to learn the concepts that even the most challenged of the learning disabled can understand with only a few moments of consideration."

    Well, perhaps, not entirely akin, as mine does seem to be slightly more correct.

    Nope, not close. I simply have no idea about the point he's trying to make. Literally. "Balance" is a very abstract and nebulous concept to start with and I still don't know what notion of balance he's trying to advance.

    I'll have a disagree. I'm a minimalist at heart and am of the belief that less is more. Too many rules get in the way of spontaneous play, particularly if the action that needs resolution is too trivial to really be worth the effort. Rules are there to enact some semblance of fair play, but after a point, it becomes counterproductive. Some things you can improvise or let slide.[1]

    "More options" is a completely bad faith argument and will do nothing but irritate me.[2] It's like telling me GTA has "more freedom" because I'm in a sandbox. (I'm not arguing the point of whether GTA is a good or bad game, but it's an argument that never ceases to annoy me. I hear similar arguments made for why Fallout 3 is better than New Vegas.)

    A lot of roleplaying and just playing getting along with people is accepting limitations and playing through them to their logical conclusion. If I assume that humans need sleep and elves don't, and I choose to enforce this in play, I'm basically limiting your options.[3]

    Sneaking isn't explicitly mentioned in older D&D, as it was purely a spontaneous expression of roleplay. This is why thieves used to be so controversial in grognard circles, because it implied you couldn't just tell the DM what actions you were taking in whatever context you needed to be "stealthy" (i.e. taking off your shoes, bribing the guard, putting out your torch, etcetera) unless you had a specific class feature. This debate seems to be resolved in that thieves/rogues basically have stealth superpowers. Anybody could sneak, thieves simply get a special clause to do it by fiat without prior explanation or with disregard to situation.[4]

    So it's easy to dismiss older D&D as having "no options" as that simply wasn't arguably the philosophy of how it was played.[5] The common Grognard defense of the class system is that, once you get the hang of it, it's quick and simple to arbitrate. If your character dies, you don't have to worry about the precious guy you built and agonize over the hours you spent fine-tuning your engine-man-thing. Roll your guy, grab your ten-foot pole and go. Less character building, more exploration and problem solving.[6]

    If you want character-building sims powered by explicit mechanics, that's fine, there are systems for that. It just isn't going to be old-school D&D.[7]

    3e didn't know what it wanted to be. Did it want to be an explicit table of fantasy archetypes or a paper-doll-build-your-hero? The answer is that it is this patchwork Frankenstein that's both and neither. That's my criticism.[8]

    4e did something right in that it minimized the skill system and merged redundant ones together so that you don't have to consult complicated tables for your Home Economics skill check.[9]

    My sort of tongue-in-cheek point is that balance is this artificial standard that plays too much into things like your hypothetical dick-swinging scenario.[10]

    Part of the fun of games like Gamma World is the "just let the dice land wherever they may and have fun with it" school of thought. (Not: Your black deathray gun is total bullshit.)[11]

    [1] You started this out by essentially saying "failure to design is good design" which is self-contradiction at best, and pants-on-head retarded at worst. You can "prefer" rules light design all you want. Your personal preference means not a damned thing when discussing suitable design, and immediately assuming anything that doesn't default to DM fiat must therefore require encyclopediac tomes of rules to manage even the most minor of circumstances is a logical fallacy I don't feel like finding the proper name for.

    [2] "I cannot invalidate your premise and so I shall claim offense. I wrongly believe that claiming offense means I win the argument. I present an example of why you are wrong without explaining how it makes you wrong or even what validity it has in this discussion."

    If you're unwilling to discuss a point, then... don't discuss it. Door, ass, way out... all that good stuff.

    [3] "I further introduce another example and posit a point without explaining its validity or relevance." Neither of these options are balanced. One obviously introduces a point of weakness while the other obviously exempts you from it. Viewed in a vacuum, (as you have presented them) they are obviously poorly designed options and one is easily discernable as the superior. This is not a "choice." This is a "Don't be an idiot."

    Still, I fail to see how this is "limiting options" other than limiting "mary sue" behavior. Frankly, limiting such behavior is part of a designer's job. The technical term is "equitable use," which means "you don't get to be better than me just because you say so." If you want to pay Mary Sue, then your best options for that are either freeform RP, act out your own fanfiction, or play older versions of D&D as a wizard, cleric or druid.

    [4] And you have just provided an excellent example of why "failing to design" is not good design. Design by DM fiat is bullshit, and a copout. If I want to play a game "designed by DM fiat" then I don't need to buy books. I'll hold court in my special little room and make up whatever rules I wish.

    [5] By rules, it had few valid options. I pointed out exactly what those options were before. If you (as I and many other DMs at the time) chose to introduce options by ignoring, breaking, or creating rules, then that had zilch to do with the rules. That was us explicitly going outside of the design to create options that the rules did not provide.

    [6] Okay, so there were lots of options, and so many choices in the system (you've previously argued) characters were meaningful (you've previously argued) but character creation was as simple as letting dice choose your stats, your SINGLE choice from a small number of classes (that were inherently inequal) which would choose all of your methods of interaction for you with no further input from you, and you could get back in the action with your next disposable character.

    Are you even trying to maintain a semblance of consistency anymore?

    [7] Good, because from a design perspective, OD&D is now awful. It's antiquated. It's BROKEN. It is more work on behalf of the DM to make it a functional vehicle for either combat simulation, interaction, or even equitable storytelling than even the abortion of Next is.

    I don't actively seek out wheel-less sleds (great step forward from carrying everything by hand... back before we had developed agriculture) to go fetch my groceries in, nor would I pick up a game design today that wasn't even cutting edge in the late 70s. It was okay for the time from a design perspective, and the concept of single-player-single-character was kindof novel, but it wasn't without precedent.

    Of course, if you're trying to invoke some bullshit like "spirit of the game" or "ephemeral qualities of play" then I again call bullshit. I (and others) have had plenty of fun replicating the good old days with newer designs. Hell, I can do it in 4th: Raise some levels on the bad guys, deny sale of loot, make the whole thing a dungeon crawl. If I want to make it really authentic, then I spend the whole game telling everyone but the casters that they aren't really worthwhile human beings because they were too stupid to play a real class.

    [8] "I posit that it can only be 'a' or 'b' and I also think it was neither without explaining why those are the only two options, or how or why I think it is neither."

    [9] Actually it worked because the number of options were both reasonable in scope, broad in application, and therefore relatively equitable in use and utility. If that sounds familiar, you may want to look at that bullet point list again.

    [10] Yes, it does play into that. It prevents it. Balance places everyone at the table at the same equitable level of contribution as a default. If a player chooses to step aside and let someone else have the spotlight, they get it. If they compete, they do so on equal terms, but it does not allow or openly condone sociopathic gameplay in a social setting.

    [11] Except that "your (anything) is total bullshit because it's not magic like I have!" is the mating call of OD&D.

    Read the parts I bolded in your post. You sound just as smug and as superior as the blog post everybody was making fun of a few pages back. Despite what you might think, I am not stupid and I have both the imagination and comprehension to understand every point you just made. I've heard them all before and don't need them reiterated.

    If you have no desire to actually read and comprehend what I'm saying, then don't type out a small book. You do not need 11 bullet points to simply assert that older editions are relics and then make veiled insults. Don't accuse me of not wanting to discuss something to you when I go out of my way to write an essay explaining my thoughts. Either ask questions like a civilized human or pick things up from context. Like, did you even think about what I was saying? Or did you just immediately get angry and fire off a post? Did it occur to you that you can ask questions?

    I clearly do not agree that older editions are failed design (it's possibly flawed), but simply asserting it contrariwise doesn't make your point. Then ranting about how those games limit your options and that this is EVIL is not going to win sympathy from me when I just explained that I think this is a bad faith argument and continuously gave examples as to why I thought so. If you literally want to believe that there is some profound technological advancement with dice/paper/pencils when the edition number ticks up, I suppose that's your perogative.

    I feel little desire to respond to you civilly or defend myself to you.

    Twenty Sided on
  • wildwoodwildwood Registered User regular
    Off the top of my head, I think that "balance" refers to a game continuing to be fun and involving for all the players' character choices, over a wide range of levels. As other people have stated, balance is partly a contract between the game design and the players, that choices they make in character creation will not come back to bite them in the ass at later levels.

    @Twenty Sided, does that help to explain it to you? Or is that still too abstract and nebulous?

  • Twenty SidedTwenty Sided Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    wildwood wrote: »
    Off the top of my head, I think that "balance" refers to a game continuing to be fun and involving for all the players' character choices, over a wide range of levels. As other people have stated, balance is partly a contract between the game design and the players, that choices they make in character creation will not come back to bite them in the ass at later levels.

    @Twenty Sided, does that help to explain it to you? Or is that still too abstract and nebulous?

    Sort of?

    Ox had some weird examples about fire feats and sword feats so I wasn't exactly sure what he thought was important about "achieving equal enjoyment." When he was nattering on about it, I was actually thinking of 4e feats that actually literally addressed fire and swords. It's not an exact analog, but the problem doesn't seem that big when the advantages in this example were "+1 to damage." In the big scheme of things, it's not the sort of thing that'll make the guy across from you flip the table and rage about other players stealing the spotlight. It was a weird example.

    I'm ambivalent on the "balance" thing, as a part of me feels it basically comparing metaphorical nerd penis in a game that isn't competitive by nature.

    Twenty Sided on
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    @twenty sided

    Do you not notice how rude you are, to Ox for example, in your default posting style?

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • Twenty SidedTwenty Sided Registered User regular
    Apparently not? I replied to him with like one sentence, which was, at the time, supposed to be a much longer reply but just parsed it down, as I wasn't sure how to address it.

    In retrospect, I understand he was making a general point of general versus circumstantial utility, but perhaps I thought there was more to it?

  • oxybeoxybe Entei is appaled and disappointed in you Registered User regular
    i'll try to make it clearer, but we must first put this up front: balance is neither nebulous nor abstract. it's a very real concept in game design and while many people have their own spin on how to phrase it, from various people i've spoken to there is usually a clear goal, which i'll just copy from wikipedia:

    In game design, balance is the concept and the practice of tuning a game's rules, usually with the goal of preventing any of its component systems from being ineffective or otherwise undesirable when compared to their peers. An unbalanced system represents wasted development resources at the very least, and at worst can undermine the game's entire ruleset by making important roles or tasks impossible to perform.

    this is pretty much my go-to and what most people see as "balance" from a game design standpoint.

    note that nowhere does it says "you have to have all your advantages and powers in fine-print", "literally modeling every possible interaction" or refusing to have referees gauge more freeform decisions... and note that no where did i say that myself. that was all implied or said by you Twenty Sided.

    now, i'll take this step by step:

    i'm making a theoretical game. in this game you can kill things. you can use many things, from swords to fire to kill things. to reward players in making a decision to use an element of the game, i'm making feats that gives benefits to people who use those elements.

    for example:
    +1 feat bonus to all attack rolls
    +2 feat bonus to all attack rolls made with [fire] tag

    the first feat gives a bonus to all attack rolls: sword, fireball, chair leg, whatever. it goes "hey, you decided you wanted to make a character who attacks things with other things, have a candy!"

    the second feat goes "hey, you decided you wanted to make a character who attacks things with a subset of things, have a candy!", the subset in particular being any attack that is tagged with [fire]

    why was [fire] chosen? for this example, it's arbitrary. i could have chosen [cold], [swords], [magic] or whatnot. it's basically wanting to give a mechanical bonus to people who do certain actions, in this case "attack things". to give players reason to diversify, i create a subset of various feats, one of which rewards people for using [fire].

    the main reasoning behind the choice in bonuses and when they apply is

    - the first is rather general purpose and always applicable, thus is the "weaker" of the two for the fact that you can add it to everything.
    - the second is more specialized, and as such should not occur as often as the first which is why it's "stronger".
    - if both gave the same +1 or +2 bonus, then the latter would be unbalanced: it's ineffective compared to the first and waste of player resources (why have a +X sometimes when you can have it all the time?). this is the main idea behind giving the second a higher bonus then the first
    - a problem arises in interaction though: in our theoretical game fire is easy enough to come by as it exists in various spells, explosives, items, etc... it's an option i want players to think about so i put it in the game. however, this means that it's very easy for a player to pick the latter option over the first and get it's effects pretty much all the time. thus the first is a waste of player resources as the second's drawback (only applies to [fire] attacks) is invalidated as you can add it to nearly every attack you make, making the first's benefit (applies to all attacks) a non-value
    - since we don't want our game elements to be ineffective or undesirable (ie: the latter feat being better then the first as you can have it virtually always apply) and have each of them be viable options to the players (thus not wasting player & development resources) we need to look at how to balance it:
    1) put a stricter limit on what things constitute [fire] attacks or nerf fire attacks. this can potentially harm players' choices as a fire wizard might find himself too ineffective against a monster without the feat, making it a "must have" to maintain parity, or too few elements to make the feat worth taking
    2) go back to the drawing board and find a different way to reward a player for choosing a game element this can potentially harm the devs as it requires scrapping a resource (a feat) and working on a new one

    i really hope you can follow this line of thought because it's the same one i used in the post, i just tried to condense it to point form.

    this is why i pay upwards and occasionally above 40$ for game books: so i can have a professional do the game balancing for me. so i don't have to comb over the books going "yeah, this is badly done" "yeah, this could be problematic" "yeah, this fails to emphasize [game element]" "yeah, this more of a hassle then it should be". i get what i pay for, and if i think my 40$ are better spent elsewhere, i'll spend them there.

    i'm critical of games and game design because i've been gaming for over two decades now, my earliest memories being of an old atari at my aunt's place and my cousin's AD&D monsterous compendium binder (though to be honest this memory was from before i even knew what D&D was. i was introduced to D&D by way of nintendo and wanting a fantasy gaming fix beyond Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda and Dragon Warrior... lack of numerals intentional).

    i like games, but i much prefer games (of all types, from table to console) that are developed with balance in mind then one that isn't. it means that the devs care about making my choices as a player matter and that i won't be playing caddy for another player or going "gee i wish i had made important choice X instead of Y" not because they don't like X, but because Y is simply the better choice for most every situation.

    that's balance.

    you can read my collected ravings at oxybesothertumbr.tumblr.com
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    Anialos
  • LeperLeper Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Nope, not close. I simply have no idea about the point he's trying to make. Literally. "Balance" is a very abstract and nebulous concept to start with and I still don't know what notion of balance he's trying to advance.
    I'd respond to this in detail, but you've done an excellent job of making my point for me.

    To wit: Either you're purposefully being evasive and obtuse (a slightly more adult form of sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting "if I can't hear you, you can't make me consider what I've just said!") or you are genuinely incapable of grasping the subject that you are discussing. There is nothing vague and nebulous about balance, nor was it improperly explained earlier, nor did anyone even fail to explain it in great detail.

    Now that Ox has gone back and re-re-re-explained it, I'm sure your next post (which may well be posted before I'm done typing this one) will either follow the tune of "nope, I don't know what you're talking about/you just fail at explaining" or you'll pick 1-2 points that have nothing to do with the main portion of the subject and focus on those as a way of avoiding the main topic of discussion.
    Read the parts I bolded in your post. You sound just as smug and as superior as the blog post everybody was making fun of a few pages back. Despite what you might think, I am not stupid and I have both the imagination and comprehension to understand every point you just made. I've heard them all before and don't need them reiterated.[1]

    If you have no desire to actually read and comprehend what I'm saying, then don't type out a small book. You do not need 11 bullet points to simply assert that older editions are relics and then make veiled insults. Don't accuse me of not wanting to discuss something to you when I go out of my way to write an essay explaining my thoughts. Either ask questions like a civilized human or pick things up from context. Like, did you even think about what I was saying? Or did you just immediately get angry and fire off a post? Did it occur to you that you can ask questions?[2]

    I clearly do not agree that older editions are failed design (it's possibly flawed), but simply asserting it contrariwise doesn't make your point. Then ranting about how those games limit your options and that this is EVIL is not going to win sympathy from me when I just explained that I think this is a bad faith argument and continuously gave examples as to why I thought so. If you literally want to believe that there is some profound technological advancement with dice/paper/pencils when the edition number ticks up, I suppose that's your perogative.[3]

    I feel little desire to respond to you civilly or defend myself to you.[4]
    [1]Actually, there are differences between myself and the blog poster (and you.)
    +I know I'm an opinionated dickbag.
    +I am willing to discuss my points--if not civilly, then at least rationally.
    +I didn't start the condescension ball rolling, senor. I respond civilly when approached civilly.

    Short version: It's nice to meet you, Mr. Pot. Surely you are aware of the Kettle family's proud heritage?

    [2]This is amusing. "I get all your points in response to my points. I've heard them before, and so I obviously don't need to discuss them again with you (who are unworthy of discussion with me)" Followed immediately by "You don't even want to talk about this and nothing you say makes any sense! Why when I said something as black and white as "imbalance is a minimal concern" you had the gall to assume I meant imbalance was a minimal concern and didn't ask me for clarification on what I meant. That's not what I meant but I don't need to tell you what I meant."

    Short version: You engage in self contradiction almost as frequently as you contradict me, and with no better reasoning behind it.

    [3] I said flawed, and thus failed from a design standpoint. That's specific. It succeeds at being a flawed design, so I guess it doesn't "fail" if you choose to be that ludicrous in your justifications. It also succeeds at being something people remember (for better or worse) so I guess it's successfully memorable... but so is Busom Buddies, and I certainly wouldn't call that a "triumph of screenwriting." I've backed up my assertions of its flaws with genuine design principles and called them out by name, (ease of use, equity of use, tolerance for error, flexibility of use, accessibility, just to name a few) although my list was not exhaustive. Even so, you have failed to address even a single example I have brought up. You've claimed "offense" and then asserted I was wrong without explaining how, and then claimed offense again.

    By the way saying "you hurt my feelings and you're a wrong, bad man and you hurt my feelings" won't win you the debate trophies when you get into high school. This may work well on your playground and you seem incredibly ell spoken for someone in the age group I'd expect this sort of "debate tactic" from, but I have a sinking feeling you're not part of that demographic.

    I'm also afraid I'm going to need to see your examples again. You went off about "sandbox video games" and asserted they were (somehow) bad but neither explained how they were bad nor why, nor how they were even relevant to the discussion.

    Short version: You're not having a discussion. You're just claiming to be butthurt and shouting contradictions, and (I hope) not aware that you're even contradicting yourself on occasion.

    [4]I'm not overly concerned with your desires. The short of it is that this is a place to discuss things. If you don't want to discuss, then this is not a place you need to be. I don't care about your feelings. I don't care that you don't like my language. I don't care that you don't feel the need to respond to anything (as you haven't genuinely responded to a damned thing yet--whether it be a post by me or anyone else) much less how civilly or uncivilly you do it.

    Cuss me out, print out a picture of my avatar and film yourself throwing darts at it. I don't give a shit. Refer to me a "shitcock" for all I care. If you're here to discuss things, discuss them. Civilly or un-. If you're here to just shout "NUH UH IT'S SO GRAET AND ALL OTHR GAMES SUK BECAUSE I SAY SO AND UR RONG" then... there are much better places for that. Paizo likes your kind, I think. You may not like their game enough, but you certainly seem to hate their competitor enough to get some sympathy.

    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.
  • Twenty SidedTwenty Sided Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Keep raging at length Leper. You can spend time justifying your previous arguments if you like, I just won't engage with them to your satisfaction. You escalated this. So go on beating on your chest and bellowing all you like.

    I made a flip comment about freedom in games being a buzz-phrase that annoyed me and you flew off the handle and took it personally. After this, you honestly expected a serious reply to points 1 through 11? Maybe if you keep numbering your points, I'll start to take them seriously.

    Twenty Sided on
  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    Shut it.

    AntimatterLeperwildwoodMikey CTSAegeri
  • wildwoodwildwood Registered User regular
    Just out of curiosity, for those who are continuing in @Denada's play test: how much more work was it rolling up a 14th-level character, compared to first-level?

  • ChrysisChrysis Registered User regular
    For a Monk, incredibly easy. There's a grand total of about 7 things you have to choose, 4 Feats and 3 Manoeuvres. And the Stat-ups, but most of those get dumped into your two primary stats, so no real choices. And the "best" thing is that those are all you will ever choose, as from 14+ the only choices left are two stat-ups.

    Tri-Optimum reminds you that there are only one-hundred-sixty-three shopping days until Christmas. Just 1 extra work cycle twice a week will give you the spending money you need to make this holiday a very special one.
  • oxybeoxybe Entei is appaled and disappointed in you Registered User regular
    and even then the maneuver choices are pretty limited. monks get 2 of their 11 available maneuvers for free: flurry of blows and step of the wind and after that we get to pick 3/9 maneuvers.

    precise shot isn't really that useful for a monk since most of our abilities require us to punch faces and & rapid shot requires a bow we're not proficient with. controlled fall is VERY situational as to be nearly a non-choice... how often do you expect to fall long distances?

    so our maneuver choices are down to 3/6. bull rush automatically pushes people back 5ft, but it also takes up your action so you're giving up dealing damage for an auto-push on a critter your size or smaller. note that you can push them further away then 5ft, but you're also moving into their old square. this would be great if not for Hurricane strike.

    so our choices are down to 3/5: trip, deflect missiles, hurricane strike, iron root defense, whirlwind attack.

    trip allows you to make people fall down and if you spend 3 dice, you force them to spend their whole move to get up instead of only 5ft of their move and can affect things one size bigger then you.

    deflect missile is ranged damage reduction and if you reduce it to 0, you can spend one point to get an attack vs the attacker by hucking the ammo. this can help since your ranged options are limited, so this can save your butt while you make your way up to punch someone.

    hurricane strike pushes people back really far. if you need to get away from someone, this is the way to disengage. now, unlike BR, HS requires us to hit, which really shouldn't be much of a problem since the monk has a high accuracy and for a single die spent, you send them back 10ft whereas BR pushes them back 5ft. 2 dice spent goes 30 ft and allows for one size bigger (something BR doesn't) and for 3 dice you get to hurl a guy 2 sizes bigger 60ft away.

    iron root is damage reduction but requires you to sit still and forced movement removes the DR. note this is actually better then last playtest's version of IRD.

    whirlwind attack is a FoB alternative. FoB allows you to attack up to 3 times (same target or any 3) whereas WWA allows you to spend one dice per other guy you want to attack. so FoB for single targets, WWA for massed kobolds.

    totally a side note: one thing that still makes me chuckle is that monks still don't have composed attack, which reads "you calm your mind and focus your effort on overcoming whatever disadvantages would cause your attack to miss". you know, the class that "most monks are lawful - the focus and discipline needed to master their arts demands rigid dedication".

    just not enough dedication that they can concentrate on overcoming potential disadvantages when punching someone. also it seems monks need not be lawful anymore. it just doesn't state they can be of any alignment and only gives examples of lawful monks :P .

    you can read my collected ravings at oxybesothertumbr.tumblr.com
    -Weather Badge
  • LeperLeper Registered User regular
    Not exactly 5e specific, but gaming design related--which has certainly come up quite often in our discussion of 5e:
    You need to question your own assumptions in there.

    What is balance? What is fair? The concern over the "balance" or "fairness" of a scenario is a gamist desire.[1]

    What design principles? Until you lay these out they are meaningless in context of a discussion.[2]

    You want to paint me[3] with this hatred of simulation elements but I have repeatedly been annoyed to the extent that 4e dropped D&D's simulationist elements. I find it rather annoying that if you know a goblin's job title you know all his stats in 4e. In 3e it was expected they'd have a class and could easily kick your ass if they had enough of it.[4]

    [1] Balance and fairness are usually considered shorthand for "equity of use by all players in which all are provided with an opportunity to contribute starting from a position of equal influence and with the same range of possible influence on the outcome as other players." Rock/paper/scissors is balanced and fair, if simplistic. Rock/papal/scissors (Pope wins!) is not.

    "As designers, no idea "deserves" to be better than another or "work" better than another, no matter how much we may like it or not. Ideally, the system should not only support every option within it with equal viability, but support every option a player's imagination could possibly conceive of. I'll admit that's a fairly tall order, but it's better to aim high and miss the mark than aim at nothing and hit it. In keeping with that, quality control should be strict, rigorous, and methodical. The same way we check and re-check our pet projects, or the diligence we employ to seek out problems with our pet peeves, should be equally applied to their opposites, as well as everything in between."

    [2] Sorry, I have a tendency to approach things like game design from a professional perspective, and assume that people will understand that design (of anything, including games) is a deliberate process that involves genuine work. It can be fun, and frustrating, but how you've described "the heart of simulationism" seems antithetical to the basic fundamental precepts of the process.

    Outlining most principles and explaining their reason for inclusion as well as elaborating on their meaning would take pages of text which I doubt you'd find fun to read, however I'll go over the basics as quickly as I can in the spoiler section below.
    +Functional: The product should do the job it says it will. In the case of a game it should enable fun for all participants. If it enables fun for only some participants by punishing others, it is not a game and is a Sadism aid.
    +Equitable: Fairness, balance, as described above. Players need not contribute identically, but should all contribute in a fashion that meaningfully affects the outcome. A soccer game where everyone on both teams simultaneously plays goalie is not likely to be enjoyable to participate in.
    +Flexible: Ideally, the design should have applications beyond those stated on the box. In an RPG this relates mostly to "refluffing" or alteration of descriptions to fit the players ideal concept if it is not already represented in the default description.
    +Simple/Intuitive/Minimal Effort: Unless you're designing a product for people who enjoy tax forms, ideas should be conveyed in an accessible manner and need not require pages of tabulations and table-checking. Math or rules included only for the sake of having math and rules, rather than to introduce or encourage fairness in play or provide a randomize element or outcome, or that perform in vastly different ways than other included sections violate this. Ex: 3e's bloated and disparate legions of rule subsets. Likewise, in a game where you are playing a role, you should not need to step out of that role frequently and for long periods of time to deal with rule abstractions for resolution. If you view the game as a way of telling a story, spending more time consulting dice and scratch paper than actually telling the story is a hindrance to that end. If you view the story as a by-product, then the amount of time spent tabulating results still slows the progression of the game.
    +Perceptible: Does what it says on the box, how it says it does it. Rules that purport to be one thing or work one way and resolve separately violate this. "Fighters" that suck at fighting would be an easily identifiable example.
    +Tolerance for error: Whether accidental ('I forgot to carry the one!/I didn't know I couldn't combine these two feats') or intentional (cheating) user error should result in minor problems, rather than catastrophic failure.

    [3] I am not attempting to paint you as anything. Genuinely. I asked a question and I'm trying to get a response that I can identify with, and will paint the described idea in a positive light, as the only descriptions and use I am familiar with is "rules for their own sake, or the sake of enforcing an outcome I like and I cannot otherwise justify in good conscience." It's not my intention to describe you at all, nor do I feel as though I have.

    [4] Isn't "class" just "job title?" I understand that you feel the rules were somehow inflexible because they were given a default description, but I'm unsure exactly why. There was nothing preventing anyone from altering the level or abilities of the examples, (in fact there were some surprisingly helpful ways provided in the system on how to go about it) or redescribe them. Taking a "goblin muck invoker" from level 1 to 30 (or anywhere in between) was by no means difficult, and always seemed to be far more inspiring to me than "goblin mage L20." Doing a full character workup for an expendable critter certainly seemed to be a waste of time when they would likely only be using a few abilities anyhow.

    All of this aside, I'm not sure what the things you're describing as "simulationist" actually simulate, other than themselves, nor how they could be described as a game other than exceedingly charitably. Most of the things you've talked about make as much sense as an automobile manufacturer saying their new car "rides like a cloud" and then unveiling a $30k smoke machine.

    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
    Right, I think you might be failing to see the distinction because you seem to up to your head in modern gamist thought.

    [1] is from the very bottom of it's feet up to the very tippy top of it's head completely a gamist attitude. If you assume this is a given you are not going to be well disposed to simulationism.

    [2] Yep. Simulationism fell down hard with 4th edition. Most modern games don't have much in the way of simulationist elements. About half your examples are firmly rooted in the idea that this is a game and thus making it a good game is more important than making it internally consistent.

    [3] Okay.

    [4] Sorta. Changing a monster by more than a handful of levels will result in the basic math stuff being correct but it not having the features that really make it an appropriate challenge for it's new level. You could push a Kobold Dragonshield up to level 30 but he'd be steam rolled by actual level 30 characters. This was not the case in 3rd where it was very easy to actually make some of the hardest monsters for a given level by adding class levels to things. (Cleric is always non-associated!)

    The idea with a simulationist game is more that the world exists. This world will have rules that built it up, it will have denizens that will be where they are for reasons completely unrelated to the PC's existence. The world isn't for the PC's, they just happen to be allowed into it.

    Take a look at that Ogre in Caves of Chaos. A 1st level party can't take it in a straight up fight. If they try they will be annihilated. If they get lucky they might be able to cheese it with ranged weapons but the Caves set up makes this unlikely. Why is the Ogre in the caves? Because he struck a deal the goblins to act as bouncer. Why is this appropriate for a 1st level adventure? What the fuck does appropriate have to do with where the Ogre chooses to live?

    Nod. Get treat. PSN: Quippish
  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Registered User regular
    Oh god, simulationist talk again. Trying to make something simulationist, especially in the context of fantasy, is a fool's errand. D&D has never been simulationist, from the first Red Box. You know why that ogre is really there? Because someone decided it would be cool to have one there and then came up with an excuse for why. There's no reason you can't have the same scenario is so-called gamist rules. Nothing about the rules in the original Red Box made that scenario any more possible than any of the rules in 4E. In the end, the DM is going to decide what makes it into his game. That isn't the concern of the designer. It's the designers job to make the best ruleset he can to make the job as easy for the DM as possible.

    // PSN: wyrd_warrior // MHW Name: Josei //
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  • oxybeoxybe Entei is appaled and disappointed in you Registered User regular
    now, before we start raging at each other, i'll note that when anyone talks about gamist/narrativist/simulation i tend to go directly to the GNS definition :

    Simulationism refers to a style of play where the main agenda is the recreation of, or inspiration by, the observed characteristics of a particular genre or set of source material. Physical reality might count as source material for these purposes, but so might superhero anthologies, or any other literary, cinematic or historical milieu. Its most frequent concerns are internal consistency, analysis or modeling of cause and effect, and informed speculation or even extrapolation to the point of satire. Often characterised by concern for the minutiae of physical interaction and details of setting, Simulationism shares with Narrativism a concern for character backgrounds, personality traits and motives, in an effort to model cause and effect within the intellectual realm as well as the physical.

    part of the simulation talk started when the discussion page for the playtest of chaos got sidetracked for a bit when DevoutlyApathetic said the 3rd ed magic item creation rules were simulationist (it's a bit mucky the exact part where it derails but i would point to somewhere in the middle of this page, then the whole shebang was moved here as to not derail the thread any further).

    i'll let people read for a bit to get caught up on what was said before continuing.

    caught up? cool.

    now the main problem with using those rules (3.5 magic item creation) as simulation is that the framework works... except when it doesn't, under the "other considerations".

    "Not all items adhere to these formulas directly. The reasons for this are several. First and foremost, these few formulas aren’t enough to truly gauge the exact differences between items. The price of a magic item may be modified based on its actual worth. The formulas only provide a starting point. The pricing of scrolls assumes that, whenever possible, a wizard or cleric created it. Potions and wands follow the formulas exactly. Staffs follow the formulas closely, and other items require at least some judgment calls."

    this seems to indicate that the authors themselves view this as a flawed simulation. and it doesn't, again, describe the "why" one can put a fireball in a thumbtack in the first place, which afaik is an important thing for the simulationist crowd.

    what you're describing is the mechanic itself that, yes, you can put fireball in a thumbtack. you can do many things with the mechanic.

    but that alone doesn't say much as to what allows the thumbtack to allow said fireball beyond "the rules says so". it succeeds at recreating part of the genre, the litany of magic items that do different things found in fantasy, but it fails at modeling it consistently from world to world as there is no way to describe the internal process, specifically the cause & effect that allows the magic item to exist beyond "get feat, throw money, get item", this hurts the simulation of the genre since part of the effort required to make magical items and brew is fussing about it's composition.

    how would a mage in FR describe making a +1 flaming sword? one in eberron? dragonlance? darksun? now, if you were to ask another GM, would he say the same answers? in a properly simulationist system, yes. both gms will be able to go "this is how this works in-game" note that i'm focusing entirely on D&D worlds for this example. now, do you think that the rules presented will properly simulate each and every process?

    we can even point to real life examples, where various cultures would attribute traits to certain materials (plants, woods, dyes, metals, stones, etc...) and use them in their ceremonies.

    but going back to fantasy item crafting: what happens if i choose maple wood instead of holly for making a wand? what if i substitute dragon heartstring for phoenix feather? can i just pick a random stick, smear it with grubworm paste and call it a suitable wand? can a wand be a metal rod or does it need to be wood? does this even matter? should it matter?

    when you put a spell in an item... what does this entail exactly? how does the process work beyond "The creator also needs a fairly quiet, comfortable, and well-lit place in which to work. Any place suitable for preparing spells is suitable for making items"?

    the 3.5 magic item creation is a mechanic that is gamist first and foremost. yes you can put a spell in an item, but that alone doesn't make it simulationist.

    it just means you have a mechanic for putting a spell in an item. it's just as simulationist as the 4th ed magic weapon creation.

    now, as for world creation itself, you can have a simulations world that's built around the PCs. if the world is supposed to emulate the narrative of the PCs being the "chosen ones", then a properly simulationist game will have the rules support that. a world built separate from what the PCs expect is definitely one form of simulation, but hardly the only one.

    going back to the ogre in the caves of chaos, it isn't there because the ogre decided it would make a deal with the goblins... he's there because the gm said "i want there to be an ogre here" and gave it a justification. he didn't just leave his notepad on a table, heard a knock at the door, paid for the chinese food delivery and came back to have "OGRE MADE DEAL WITH GOBBOS, LIVES IN CAVE NOW" written on the piece of paper.

    it's entirely dishonest to go " What the fuck does (level 1) appropriate have to do with where the Ogre chooses to live?" because in the end, ogre didn't chose where the ogre lives.

    the gm does. the gm created the goblins, the ogre and said "there's an ogre here because i said so" (or a prettied up variation thereof), the gm created all the encounters in the area, then decided to let a bunch of level 1 guys loose in a place they didn't stand a chance to begin with.

    and any gm who throws a bullshit line like that at me is going to be called on it. that ogre didn't spring up from nowhere. you put the fucker there, plain and simple. if you don't want the PCs to go somewhere... Don't put the place somewhere the PCs can get to, at best you're simply putting abeefgate or "t-rex on the plains" to scare the players away and at worst it's a goddamned dragon quest bridge that drops a t-rex on you without any warning once crossed (which is what happened to the first group that went in the caves). a bunch of weak backstory justification that the players will (and lets be honest here) NEVER pick up on is not my idea of good adventure writing. or even passable adventure writing, and quite frankly i don't see any fun as a player to be roflstomped by a dozen and a half goblins and an ogre in 2 rounds.

    to quote our playtest GM Denada "It's a bad adventure and it should feel bad". hiding behind the veneer of "simulationist" design is simply trying to dodge the question of " Who though putting an ogre an a dozen and a half goblins was a suitable encounter for a bunch of level 1s?".

    the adventure writer did it seems, because it clearly states "an adventure for characters level 1-3" on the front page

    you can read my collected ravings at oxybesothertumbr.tumblr.com
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  • LeperLeper Registered User regular
    Well I'm not sure what tone to attribute to "up to your head in modern gamist thought," so I'm going to take it as a compliment, especially considering one of the lines that immediately follows is about the importance of making games good. If one is making a game and marketing a game, why would you market it as "a shitty game that does non-gaming things?"

    If making sure all players have the opportunity to enjoy themselves at a table, rather than seeking to punish people who don't like the same fantasy I like is a "gamist attitude" then I'm not sure what other attitude you would want any game designer, player, or GM to have. It's very easy to take most group activities and make them unfair. It's a simple matter to punish people you don't like or don't agree with you for having the gall to want to enjoy your company. I can (and frequently do) manage this on my own with little effort. If a game's job is not to facilitate the fun of all involved, then I posit (again) that it's nothing more than an aid for antisocial behavior attempting to disguise itself as a game to lure in the victims.

    One of the things I still seem to be fuzzy on is this "internal consistency" thing. Consistency and intuitiveness is a hallmark of design--avoiding nonsensical little rule exceptions or overly complex subsystems that work nothing like the rest of the game is a strong part of that. Perhaps I'm not understanding what you're using the term to describe though, which may go back to failing to understand the example you used, and why.

    As Ox has more succinctly pointed out your example had rules, but they were not consistently applied, in some cases they were quite counter-intuitive, and they only seemed to simulate a world where this inconsistent sort of not-quite-logic applied. (In other words, the only justification I can see is self-justification: I simulate what I simulate because I am trying to simulate myself.)

    Now I don't quite understand why he's referring to them as gamist, because as design goes, they're as fucking awful as a red hot poker jammed in my eye.

    I'll gladly go on record and say that GNS theory is crap. Its definitions are overly narrow, it presupposes conflict where there needn't be, fails to address any manner in which its "frictions" are easily reconciled, asserts by implication that in a role-playing game that considering neither role-playing nor gaming are necessary to the end product, and generally makes a lot of points which it seems to self-justify. (that is, "I say things that are correct, and I said it, so it must therefore be what I said, and thus is correct.")

    If my role play is hindered by rolling to play, then I'd prefer the rolls play right, instead of steam-rolling play-night.
  • AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Take a look at that Ogre in Caves of Chaos. A 1st level party can't take it in a straight up fight. If they try they will be annihilated.

    Good thing 5e makes casters ridiculous as the first time I ran the playtest in an IRC setting, all the wizard did was spam the at-will that reduces a creatures movement to zero on the ogre. Then the rest of the party just shot it to death and it was basically a non-event. This was the kind of badly designed awful and stupid encounter that 4e routinely tried to avoid, but 5e routinely creates (do I have to bring up the rats again?). Either a complete thumping with zero chance or the PCs can murder the enemy without any significant opposition. I do feel for groups that didn't take a wizard, but like what is happening with Denada's 5e game, 5e is built with casters in mind at the detriment of the entire game.

    Internal consistency and actually making logical fun encounters are frequently things at odds.

    I will go with the thing that produces a better game every single time.

    Aegeri on
    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
  • LeperLeper Registered User regular
    Aegeri wrote: »
    Internal consistency and actually making logical fun encounters are frequently things at odds.
    Maybe I'm still misunderstanding everyone's use of the term, but "internal consistency" and "logical, fun encounters" seem to only be at odds when the internal logic consistently says "you will consistently not be allowed to have fun."

    If my role play is hindered by rolling to play, then I'd prefer the rolls play right, instead of steam-rolling play-night.
  • AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    Personally I think is much better to think of this as fiction - eg the concept that a dragon can destroy an entire army by itself - vs. how those game elements actually work. An ogre should be much too hard to handle for a 1st level party who isn't suitably prepared to it as that is what the fluff (or fiction) suggests. In a gamist system, the fiction is put aside so that the ogre is a balanced and reasonable challenge for the same party - against the traditional "fiction" of the rules.

    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
  • oxybeoxybe Entei is appaled and disappointed in you Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    see this is why i hate (not dislike, but actual seething "gosh darn i wish you were a person instead of a concept so i could knife you" hate) the GNS theory:

    no one has any damned idea how it's supposed to be but are still more then happy to gather under the banner they like the most based on the word used.

    gamist, as per edwards himself:
    "The players, armed with their understanding of the game and their strategic acumen, have to Step On Up. Step On Up requires strategizing, guts, and performance from the real people in the real world. This is the inherent "meaning" or agenda of Gamist play (analogous to the Dream in Simulationist play).

    Gamist play, socially speaking, demands performance with risk, conducted and perceived by the people at the table. What's actually at risk can vary - for this level, though, it must be a social, real-people thing, usually a minor amount of recognition or esteem. The commitment to, or willingness to accept this risk is the key - it's analogous to committing to the sincerity of The Dream for Simulationist play. This is the whole core of the essay, that such a commitment is fun and perfectly viable for role-playing, just as it's viable for nearly any other sphere of human activity.

    The in-game characters, armed with their skills, priorities, and so on, have to face a Challenge, which is to say, a specific Situation in the imaginary game-world. Challenge is about the strategizing, guts, and performance of the characters in this imaginary game-world.

    For the characters, it's a risky situation in the game-world; in addition to that all-important risk, it can be as fabulous, elaborate, and thematic as any other sort of role-playing. Challenge is merely plain old Situation - it only gets a new name because of the necessary attention it must receive in Gamist play. Strategizing in and among the Challenge is the material, or arena, for whatever brand of Step On Up is operating. "

    and that's it.

    it has no mention of any need for equality between the players & the monsters but rather that the monster is simply there as a challenge to be overcome, whether or not it's possible is beyond the scope of being "gamist."

    it's the orc & pie scenario:

    you enter a room, there is a table with a pie on it. a orc is guarding said pie. you need to kill the orc to get the pie because that's the challenge put forth.

    in a gamist system, it's not the characters who go "gee gosh, i think we should run" base on their knowledge or experience, but rather the players who decide "i know the risks when fighting an the risks don't outweigh the rewards". it has nothing to do with the perceived fiction and all about "is the risk bigger then the reward?".

    you don't run from the dragon because dragons are scary. you run from dragons because you crunched numbers in your head and deemed them too risky to attempt.

    the ogre in the caves of chaos is not a reasonable challenge for a gamist system not because of being unfair to the players power-wise, but because in the scenario it was presented (or at least in the way the party met the ogre) the players couldn't do the risk assessment to determine if they wanted to fight it or run. they couldn't balance the risk/reward and if they decided to challenge it, then come up with a plan to overcome it.

    as i said before : they unknowingly crossed a bridge in dragon quest and whoops "you encountered a t-rex".

    oxybe on
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  • Fleur de AlysFleur de Alys Biohacker Registered User regular
    I do have some empathy from the point of view of "this world is revolving around the PCs and that's hurting fun." This primarily comes from my experiences with the most recent Elder Scrolls games; it's absurdly transparent, until you use mods, that everything in the game is presented based on your level. Shops only sell level-appropriate gear (and the same shop will upgrade its inventory as you level up). Monsters you encounter in the wilderness depends almost entirely on your level, only slightly on where you actually are. Dungeons are populated when you enter them by level-appropriate enemies (though at least Skyrim had sufficient wit to leave them that way until you cleared them; Oblivion would level up the dungeon if you left it and powered up).

    This does a lot of damage to the sense of immersion the game otherwise goes to great pains to craft for you. It's clear that leveling up doesn't matter at all and that the world out there isn't playing by any sort of rules internal to itself (instead the rules are relative to the player's character).

    Now, I'm about as balance and fairness focused as you can get in terms of theory. I've gone through great pains to "fix" the tabletop games I've run as DM (including 4th, especially in the first year). The idea of throwing a high-level beast at a low-level party without warning or a reasonable way to beat it, just because it "makes sense" internally for it to be there, is revolting to me. In fact, the last time a DM pulled that sort of crap on me as a player, I walked. I don't tolerate that kind of behavior in a friendly game.

    But at the same time, it's no good if everything you run into just happens to be appropriate for the players to encounter. I mean, even the dreaded MMO recognizes this by having each area with its own expected level range. There is a point to gaining levels because it means you can go places you couldn't go to before and do things you couldn't do before.

    It is not the game ruleset (or any sense of "simulationist" versus "gamist" or whatever) that's important here. It's adventure design.

    As a DM, I've solved this in two ways. In a linear game, I put a super high-level enemy (Dracolich, original 4E version) right in the middle of an area the PCs were running through, but it was sealed inside the ruins of a keep. The PCs couldn't hope to beat it. But they could get away from it before it killed them. This did several positive things for the game: it created a real sense of danger for the players, it offered a different sort of scene / encounter (escape instead of kill everything), and it gave them a long-term goal -- return to this place once they were more powerful so they could defeat the dracolich and find any valuable treasure hidden within the keep.

    Another time, I wanted to make a more open-world "sandbox" adventure. This is much harder for the same reasons the Elder Scrolls games have proven difficult to design; if the players can go anywhere at any time, then if the game world doesn't accommodate them specifically, they will go somewhere "wrong" and outright die to something mechanically much stronger than themselves.

    The simple solution to this was to give information. When the PCs would learn of some adventuring area in the city, they could research it to learn as much as possible before venturing there. In this way, they could surmise if they were up to the challenge. By giving them many options of where they could go, they were essentially able to craft their own story direction in what felt like a consistent and believable world all of its own. This was easily the most successful tabletop campaign I've ever run, and while it took a lot of up-front time to design and set up, it was definitely worth it.

    As oxybe argued above, there's no reason for "gamist" solutions and "simulationist" solutions to be at-odds. You can craft a game that is fun, fair, and balanced while also making it internally consistent and believable. It's more difficult than just accomplishing one of those goals, for sure, but it's so worth it.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
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