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grimsly
2016-05-11, 11:39 AM
So I've been reading some old threads in different forums and noticed that there seem to be some things that just don't work very well in gaming. I'm talking about those things that are in the rules but you either a) never played with or b) tried a few times, then all agreed to never talk about again. So let's talk about some of them:

- encumbrance rules: I'll defend encumbrance rules, but it's only when I want to be a bit of a troll. Basically, the GM never thinks about them and the players don't want to be bothered with any more arduous arithmetic than they are already burdened with. They only seem to come up when the GM wants to mess with his players for not bringing an army of manservants.

- Rolling for stats: now I'm fully aware that old school players didn't even know what cheating was, and were never bitter about anyone outshining their characters, and that far from blaming the GM for their character's untimely demise, they simply thanked them for the privilege of being at their table, but us sub forty types have issues with having the dice tell us what we're supposed to play, and having Jeff roll so many 18s every time we play.

- food and water: yeah, we have a thread up on this one. It's painfully apparent that nobody enjoys bookkeeping as much as I do. Le sigh.

Is there a game that handles one of these well? Can you think of some I've missed? Have I inadvertently insulted your families honor? Let me know!

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-11, 11:41 AM
I'm 42, and I've always hated rolling for stats.

Geddy2112
2016-05-11, 11:50 AM
For encumbrance and food/water, these things simply stop being a concern for fantasy heroes after a few levels. I mean, once you get a bag of holding or similar encumbrance is never an issue. In the meantime, the BSF tends to carry everything, or whoever has a mount. Likewise, encumbrance won't matter much for characters in medium or heavy armor who are already taking those penalties, so why not carry a bunch of crap? A fair amount of magic users can simply create water from level 1, and creating food is not far behind. Then you get wilderness adventurer gods who can use survival or some other skill to find food for the party. Later on, most fantasy settings have a way of bypassing the need to eat, drink, or even sleep. Obviously this is not totally true for all fantasy systems but more or less it holds up. Even science fiction systems have technology in place of magic.

For dice rolling, my group does not do it for the very reasons you mentioned. Nobody likes it when they wanna be a caster and they have 1 14 to put towards their casting stat and the rest of the dice are no higher than 10, and meanwhile the rogue has 4 18's and outshines the table at everything. As a DM it is hard to balance encounters when characters are that variable, or that powerful/weak. We just do a buy or an array so everyone is more or less equal. Plus it does not take as long.

nedz
2016-05-11, 11:57 AM
I always work out encumbrance for my characters but that might be just me - hell, I don't even use a spread sheet.

We've just switched over from rolling to using arrays - I'm not sure everyone is on board.

Real Old school was 3d6 in order BTW.:smallbiggrin:

Airk
2016-05-11, 01:13 PM
Encumberance is an important part of The One Ring, because it's not a dopey "You can carry Xmuch with no penalty, and then suddenly you start getting really weighed down" rule. Carrying stuff essentially reduces your "hitpoints" because you are more tired, so the more stuff you carry, the more easily you become Weary. The system works in part, however, because you DON'T track annoying stuff like food and water and arrows, so you don't need to constantly be adjusting your encumberance total.

Food and water are important parts of Ryuutama, because it's a game about journeys and getting lost and therefore maybe not having enough supplies is a thing. It also has encumberance, but the amount of stuff you need to carry is relatively low, and treasure isn't really a big thing (coins have no weight, IIRC), so the game is more about "Do we have enough supplies?"

But rolling for stats can go die in a fire.

Tanarii
2016-05-11, 01:49 PM
Have I inadvertently insulted your families honor? Let me know!You have insulted my family honor, and now you must die! :smallwink: :smallamused:

Seriously though, my current 5e campaign uses all these things. Plus ammunition tracking. Plus wandering monsters. Plus strict time tracking, both on the in-session and campaign level. Plus I've reintroduced henchmen. It's a sandbox: Combat-as-war is encouraged, wilderness is NOT level appropriate and is very dangerous, dungeons are level appropriate zones but you choose the level to adventure on and can easily overextend, lots of players across multiple different sessions, with PCs coming together as a party for specific sessions/expeditions in-game.

I certainly ignored all that stuff back in the day when playing BECMI, and occasionally 1e. But after doing a lot of historical reading on how the original designers ran their campaigns, I was inspired to recreate it with modern D&D. It works pretty damn well so far. But mostly because the players know exactly what they're getting into when they join up.

kyoryu
2016-05-11, 01:55 PM
You have insulted my family honor, and now you must die! :smallwink: :smallamused:

Seriously though, my current 5e campaign uses all these things. Plus ammunition tracking. Plus wandering monsters. Plus strict time tracking, both on the in-session and campaign level. Plus I've reintroduced henchmen. It's a sandbox: Combat-as-war is encouraged, wilderness is NOT level appropriate and is very dangerous, dungeons are level appropriate zones but you choose the level to adventure on and can easily overextend, lots of players across multiple different sessions, with PCs coming together as a party for specific sessions/expeditions in-game.

I certainly ignored all that stuff back in the day when playing BECMI, and occasionally 1e. But after doing a lot of historical reading on how the original designers ran their campaigns, I was inspired to recreate it with modern D&D. It works pretty damn well so far. But mostly because the players know exactly what they're getting into when they join up.

Exactly. Those things work great in the game style for which they're intended for.

In a more 'dramatic' mode, with the One True Party on their Epic Quest, they suck.

Use the right tools for the job.

BWR
2016-05-11, 03:35 PM
Encumbrance: we always play with it. The bookkeeping is so minimal it's hardly worth mentioning. Yes, magic does make things easier but there is a distinct difference between "can carry a lot more than normal/don't need to carry food and drink" and "can carry whatever you want". You still need to keep track of what you have and how you can carry it, even if you can carry ridiculous amounts. Unless you have the right magic item you don't have infinite ammunition. Your magic bag can't contain an army's worth of armor, you can't carry the entire inventory of the local hardware store, and unless you have the right magic, food and water can be absolutely vital to keep track of. It isn't as much of an issue for higher-level folks but it is never a non-issue unless you don't actually need to eat (like being undead or something.

Rolling for stats: Hell yeah. Every time. Sometimes you get sucky stats and you try to figure out what to do. Sometimes you get ok stats and can do pretty much whatever. Sometimes you get really awesome stats and a great feeling of epicness. Yes there are plenty of systems built from the group up to use point buy or similar methods and that's fine but for D&D and derivatives I will always choose rolling and expect people roll in games I run. In short, rolling for stats is fun even if you sometimes get bad results.
I still have players who like 3d6 in order.

Fumble Jack
2016-05-11, 03:36 PM
IMO, encumbrance and food/water come into play pending on setting (D&D) for me, I heavily favor Dark Sun, which those rules come a bit to the forefront in keeping in theme with the setting. Though I will agree in more traditional fantasy settings, those rules tend to get glossed over

Darth Ultron
2016-05-11, 04:02 PM
Your three of encumbrance, food and water and rolling for abilities, is a lot more just old vs new. The new players, especially 2000 and on hate all that ''old stuff'' as they just want to video game roll play. And rolling of abilities is a great way to play, but sure it does not fit in with the modern ''build'' idea for the roll players. But it's great for a role player. You roll some dice, then create a character off the rolls. A rolled character is unique, and not a lame point buy copy that always have high stats in the wanted stats.

There is noting wrong with the older editions food/water rules or encumbrance rules, if you want to play that type of game.

Some you ''missed'':

Spell Components

Weapon/equipment breakage

Instant Character Death

Any negative effect on a character that can not be removed simply

Knaight
2016-05-11, 04:07 PM
You've missed a few. While there's at least one game that gets all of these right, they're horribly outnumbered by the ones that screw it up in some way.

-Noncombat conflict
It's rare to even find a half decent set of rules for chase scenes, let alone something that isn't action. On top of that, very few games are made well for a game that isn't at some level about fighting things. Then you get into things like tool use in these conflicts, and it's rare to even see a decent attempt.

-Vehicle rules
It's one thing when a fantasy game is sloppy about this, but it happens all the time in modern and even futuristic settings. A normally rules light game suddenly turns into a horrible bloat of crunch (d6 Space), a normally rules heavy game suddenly decides to dial up the weight yet further until it gets out of control (GURPS Vehicles), or they turn into decoration which does jack-all.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-11, 04:13 PM
Your three of encumbrance, food and water and rolling for abilities, is a lot more just old vs new. The new players, especially 2000 and on hate all that ''old stuff'' as they just want to video game roll play. And rolling of abilities is a great way to play, but sure it does not fit in with the modern ''build'' idea for the roll players. But it's great for a role player. You roll some dice, then create a character off the rolls. A rolled character is unique, and not a lame point buy copy that always have high stats in the wanted stats.



Whereas I'd consider rolled stats and "building from the roll" to be part and parcel of the days of roll-played dungeon-crawling gold-and-XP-and-level-up roll-on-tables-driven gaming. Most of the problems that "old schoolers" like to attribute to "kids these days and their video games" were just as prevalent in the early days of gaming.

But then I've been gaming for a LONG time... I have a copy of an AD&D DMG that I bought during the original print run, with a d100 table for coming up with different sorts of "ladies of the night" -- will the dice give us a haughty courtesan, or a wanton wench? :smalltongue: :smallconfused: Roll-playing indeed. :smallbiggrin:

Mastikator
2016-05-11, 04:20 PM
So I've been reading some old threads in different forums and noticed that there seem to be some things that just don't work very well in gaming. I'm talking about those things that are in the rules but you either a) never played with or b) tried a few times, then all agreed to never talk about again. So let's talk about some of them:

- encumbrance rules: I'll defend encumbrance rules, but it's only when I want to be a bit of a troll. Basically, the GM never thinks about them and the players don't want to be bothered with any more arduous arithmetic than they are already burdened with. They only seem to come up when the GM wants to mess with his players for not bringing an army of manservants.

- Rolling for stats: now I'm fully aware that old school players didn't even know what cheating was, and were never bitter about anyone outshining their characters, and that far from blaming the GM for their character's untimely demise, they simply thanked them for the privilege of being at their table, but us sub forty types have issues with having the dice tell us what we're supposed to play, and having Jeff roll so many 18s every time we play.

- food and water: yeah, we have a thread up on this one. It's painfully apparent that nobody enjoys bookkeeping as much as I do. Le sigh.

Is there a game that handles one of these well? Can you think of some I've missed? Have I inadvertently insulted your families honor? Let me know!
The games I enjoyed the most were low fantasy medieval games that involved rolling for stats, encumbrance rules and bookkeeping food and water.

Rolling for stats forced players (or at least me) out of their comfort zone and made them (me) roleplay characters that they never thought they would. It was instantly and ultimately a better experience.

Encumbrance and food added an extra dimension of gameplay, it made survival and mortality real and palpable even when we weren't faced with monsters. Nature itself became an enemy.

2D8HP
2016-05-11, 05:44 PM
-Rolling for stats: now I'm fully aware that old school players didn't even know what cheating was, and were never bitter about anyone outshining their characters, and that far from blaming the GM for their character's untimely demise, they simply thanked them for the privilege of being at their table, but us sub forty types have issues with having the dice tell us what we're supposed to play, and having Jeff roll so many 18s every time we play.Except for the not being bitter part, you nailed it!
I'll be 48 next month and until recently the only D&D I played was Oe/Holmes/and 1e AD&D (and some other lame RPG's which I will spare naming.
After a long hiatus from the hobby I started again with 5e D&D. My reaction to point buy and standard array for stats? "Holy Molly, I can finally get to play the most awesome of all classes the Ranger! Hmm...OK...um...oh damn".

jinjitsu
2016-05-11, 06:26 PM
I've never gotten the hatred for rolling for stats; it's very easy for a DM to fix that kind of thing. All you have to do is compare the characters' scores to make sure no one is coming in well behind the others.

I haven't had to penalize anyone's scores yet - though I nearly nerfed our rogue before realizing he wasn't even ahead of the ranger in total ability bonuses - but I did recently toss a new player a bonus Ability Score Improvement because he was coming in 1 bonus behind the lowest bonus total in the group.

Faily
2016-05-11, 06:41 PM
The new players, especially 2000 and on hate all that ''old stuff'' as they just want to video game roll play. And rolling of abilities is a great way to play, but sure it does not fit in with the modern ''build'' idea for the roll players. But it's great for a role player. You roll some dice, then create a character off the rolls. A rolled character is unique, and not a lame point buy copy that always have high stats in the wanted stats.

Well, that is simply just not true. If anything, I've found those who started post-2000 have been very immersive roleplayers.
And so are those who I game with who played since BECMI.

Which comes down to the fact that there is no "old vs new"-thing. It's all a matter of the individual player, and sometimes the individual group.

Heck, I didn't start playing tabletops until around 2004 myself, and I've never really ever been a "murder-hobo" in a game (then again, I started on the deep end with Kult and sorta just skipped the Murder-hobo phase all-together). And after having several different groups, been a part of a gaming club, and gamed with people online through play-by-posts since 2007, I've learned that some players are more interested in leaving fates to the dice and roll for stats (sometimes even for random race & class combo), and some are more interested in "making it even for everyone" by using point-buy.

Fri
2016-05-11, 06:46 PM
Your three of encumbrance, food and water and rolling for abilities, is a lot more just old vs new. The new players, especially 2000 and on hate all that ''old stuff'' as they just want to video game roll play. And rolling of abilities is a great way to play, but sure it does not fit in with the modern ''build'' idea for the roll players. But it's great for a role player. You roll some dice, then create a character off the rolls. A rolled character is unique, and not a lame point buy copy that always have high stats in the wanted stats.

There is noting wrong with the older editions food/water rules or encumbrance rules, if you want to play that type of game.

Some you ''missed'':

Spell Components

Weapon/equipment breakage

Instant Character Death

Any negative effect on a character that can not be removed simply

I know, truly it was the golden age of roleplaying. Having a randomly created character, instead of one you spent a lot of time and effort creating, is so much better for roleplay!

Back in the day when you rolled Max Flubbo, the randomly generated jester with no stat above 10, you played him until the bitter end! Which was usually the first time encounter now that you mention it.

TheIronGolem
2016-05-11, 06:50 PM
A rolled character is no more or less "unique" than one created from an array or a point-buy, because what makes a character "unique" is things like their personality and background that are independent of how their ability scores were generated.

Tanarii
2016-05-11, 06:56 PM
Which comes down to the fact that there is no "old vs new"-thing. It's all a matter of the individual player, and sometimes the individual group.Yeah. I started with RPG gaming in 1985. Everyone I knew roll-played the hell out of games, especially for new campaigns. Not that it's changed much. The only time I've ever seen anything approaching "immersive roleplaying", aka storytelling time, is in games I've run for 1-2 other people. It just doesn't happen as soon as the group gets to any decent size.

Which is fine. You can still Roleplay, ie make in-character decisions during gameplay, without storytelling time. And properly use mechanical resolution in conjunction with it. In fact, IMO that makes for much better games anyway.

Mister Loorg
2016-05-11, 07:02 PM
But after doing a lot of historical reading on how the original designers ran their campaigns,

Unrelated, but could I have a link to some of this historical reading?

Hyooz
2016-05-11, 08:31 PM
I'll admit to being a DM that prefers systems that abstract as much stuff out as possible. I run FATE almost exclusively these days because I am much more interested in the communal storytelling aspect of RPGs these days than the simulation aspect of them. That said, things like hunger/thirst and encumbrance definitely have their place in the right kinds of story. If you're following Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn, sure, ignore food and water, but Frodo and Sam kind of suck at staying alive. That lembas bread was all they had and now damn, it's gone and holy **** are tensions high.

That's the good stuff, man.

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-11, 08:51 PM
If you're following Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn, sure, ignore food and water, but Frodo and Sam kind of suck at staying alive. That lembas bread was all they had and now damn, it's gone and holy **** are tensions high.

That's the good stuff, man.

Huh. So that's the origin of the Dark Sun halflings...

Tanarii
2016-05-11, 09:55 PM
Unrelated, but could I have a link to some of this historical reading?

Start here: http://blogofholding.com/?series=mornard

There's some good stuff on dragonsfoot.org, and the old grognardia blog, as well.

Bohandas
2016-05-11, 10:18 PM
So I've been reading some old threads in different forums and noticed that there seem to be some things that just don't work very well in gaming. I'm talking about those things that are in the rules but you either a) never played with or b) tried a few times, then all agreed to never talk about again. So let's talk about some of them:

- encumbrance rules: I'll defend encumbrance rules, but it's only when I want to be a bit of a troll. Basically, the GM never thinks about them and the players don't want to be bothered with any more arduous arithmetic than they are already burdened with. They only seem to come up when the GM wants to mess with his players for not bringing an army of manservants.

To be fair, this isn't limited to Tabletop.

I've written several missives to the creators of the game Dungeons of Dredmor asking them to retool their game's cumbersome and restrictive inventory system. By the halfway point of the game far more time is taken up by boring inventory management then by actual gameplay; double or triple that if you're playing a crafting character.

I've also modded carrying capacity out of my copies of Fallout: New Vegas and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim as with it enabled the games consist mostly of constantly trudging back to town to switch weapons or sell loot.

goto124
2016-05-11, 11:32 PM
I've also modded carrying capacity out of my copies of Fallout: New Vegas and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim as with it enabled the games consist mostly of constantly trudging back to town to switch weapons or sell loot.

http://0.media.dorkly.cvcdn.com/75/81/ec234a1aee9ca79ca06a342e89455441.jpg
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/2c/df/2f/2cdf2f7a093fe70daaa2b6fb5e421dc3.jpg
http://1.media.dorkly.cvcdn.com/44/22/9bf09ecbb6b16f9bc3ab4a35f36cc0bb.jpg
I suppose you've heard of people storing all their items in corpses that get kicked around the wasteland for storage?

Nightcanon
2016-05-12, 12:45 AM
So I've been reading some old threads in different forums and noticed that there seem to be some things that just don't work very well in gaming. I'm talking about those things that are in the rules but you either a) never played with or b) tried a few times, then all agreed to never talk about again. So let's talk about some of them:

- encumbrance rules: I'll defend encumbrance rules, but it's only when I want to be a bit of a troll. Basically, the GM never thinks about them and the players don't want to be bothered with any more arduous arithmetic than they are already burdened with. They only seem to come up when the GM wants to mess with his players for not bringing an army of manservants.

- Rolling for stats: now I'm fully aware that old school players didn't even know what cheating was, and were never bitter about anyone outshining their characters, and that far from blaming the GM for their character's untimely demise, they simply thanked them for the privilege of being at their table, but us sub forty types have issues with having the dice tell us what we're supposed to play, and having Jeff roll so many 18s every time we play.

- food and water: yeah, we have a thread up on this one. It's painfully apparent that nobody enjoys bookkeeping as much as I do. Le sigh.

Is there a game that handles one of these well? Can you think of some I've missed? Have I inadvertently insulted your families honor? Let me know!

Well, food, water and encumbrance (and things like torches/lamp oil and ammunition) are book-keeping things that D&D basically does away with as soon as possible with the introduction of extra-dimensional storage and magical sources of food, water and light, or makes it possible to hand-wave away and get on with the more exciting parts of the story. Ditto transport, money (yes, we're really toting 2000lbs of gold round with us everywhere we go) and living expenses. If you want to document every item the party has and where it is stashed in the cart, you can. Even at low levels, in most circumstances it's fine to have heavy items in sacks that you simply drop or throw in the corner when combat starts.
Rolling for stats: my recollection from playing 1st Edition is that stats didn't matter quite so much. I got lucky with my first character (Halfling thief) and had a 19 dex, but that didn't get me anything like the +4/ +20% across to hit, AC, and abilities that it would in later editions. If you had a fighter with 18/00 strength, you got +3 to hit and +6 to damage, if I recall correctly, and if you started out as a fighter with 12 strength then finding Gauntlets of Ogre Power would take your strength up to 18/00 just as effectively as if you started with a 17. In 3.X, you are always catching up if you have a suboptimal score in an important ability, because a 12 plus a +6 item and two level up bonuses isn't as good as a 20 and the same increases.

Mastikator
2016-05-12, 02:12 AM
To be fair, this isn't limited to Tabletop.

I've written several missives to the creators of the game Dungeons of Dredmor asking them to retool their game's cumbersome and restrictive inventory system. By the halfway point of the game far more time is taken up by boring inventory management then by actual gameplay; double or triple that if you're playing a crafting character.

I've also modded carrying capacity out of my copies of Fallout: New Vegas and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim as with it enabled the games consist mostly of constantly trudging back to town to switch weapons or sell loot.

It always seemed silly to me that you can't just get a wheel barrow or pack mule in those games to help you carry more loot.

Kami2awa
2016-05-12, 03:14 AM
Moving away from the encumbrance / rations/randomness problem, another thing that turn based rpgs don't do well is formation combat. This can be fixed eg by having a single movement phase in the initiative order where everyone in the formation moves, but the RAW usually has everyone move individually which removes the advantages of a close formation eg that the enemy can't get inside it.

Earthwalker
2016-05-12, 05:54 AM
I think someone has pointed to The One Ring as a game that has an interesting handle on encumbrance. Itís not fiddly but makes choices on what you carry on a journey important. It also is built into the games theme (going on journeys)

I think each of the things mentioned, encumbrance, tracking supplies, randomly generated stats need a reason to be in a game.
Adding it into a game because you like it seems odd. Its more what are these things trying to achieve in the system and is there a better way of doing it then how has currently being done.

It certainly seems that in DnD many versions itís just an inconvenience you have to put up with till you reach a level when you can be rewarded with extra dimensional space to hold all you need. It might fall into Grods Law, you are being punished for being low level. (It kind of seems like that to me)


To be fair, this isn't limited to Tabletop.
[snip]
I've also modded carrying capacity out of my copies of Fallout: New Vegas and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim as with it enabled the games consist mostly of constantly trudging back to town to switch weapons or sell loot.

I find it odd that I have in fact added on a mod to Skyrim that made encumbrance more of a factor and turned off fast travel. This was to make the game about traveling and survival and not just the questing side of things.
Itís amazing what different people want out of games.

I fall into the +40 age group of players but I generally prefer point buy over rolled stats. I will play randomly generation games it all depends on why we are randomly generating stats. One of my favourite games to make a character in is Squadron UK a super hero game. All your powers are randomly generated on a table; once you have the powers then you come up with justification of how your power set works itís a fun experience.

nedz
2016-05-12, 06:11 AM
Rolling for stats: my recollection from playing 1st Edition is that stats didn't matter quite so much. I got lucky with my first character (Halfling thief) and had a 19 dex, but that didn't get me anything like the +4/ +20% across to hit, AC, and abilities that it would in later editions. If you had a fighter with 18/00 strength, you got +3 to hit and +6 to damage, if I recall correctly, and if you started out as a fighter with 12 strength then finding Gauntlets of Ogre Power would take your strength up to 18/00 just as effectively as if you started with a 17. In 3.X, you are always catching up if you have a suboptimal score in an important ability, because a 12 plus a +6 item and two level up bonuses isn't as good as a 20 and the same increases.

Well the numbers were smaller and so these mattered more; e.g. Orcus had 66 HP.
The numbers have seen rampant inflation across, and even within, editions.

Tanarii
2016-05-12, 07:42 AM
Moving away from the encumbrance / rations/randomness problem, another thing that turn based rpgs don't do well is formation combat. This can be fixed eg by having a single movement phase in the initiative order where everyone in the formation moves, but the RAW usually has everyone move individually which removes the advantages of a close formation eg that the enemy can't get inside it.yeah, that's true in modern D&D for sure. In the original game, and through AD&D 1e /BECMI, individual initiative was the variant rule. Side initiative was the default, and Tactical fFrmations were supposedlye assumed.

Yet another thing I never did in the groups I played with. But it makes sense for that game, when you understand the original players were all war gamers. Formation play would have been instinctive to them.

DigoDragon
2016-05-12, 08:15 AM
I don't remember ever using weapon speeds in AD&D 2nd edition. Nor class level limits by race for that matter... but it's funny because my old local group *Loved* rolling for stats. I'd always promote a generous point buy, yet they all break out the dice and start rolling. I guess it was our old school roots. We were RP gamers before the advent of the internet. :smallbiggrin:

I think something the older table top systems never did quite right was unarmed and grapple combat. Seemed to just be some tacked on afterthought that didn't flow right with the rest of the hack-n-slash system.

2D8HP
2016-05-12, 08:45 AM
I know, truly it was the golden age of roleplaying. Having a randomly created character, instead of one you spent a lot of time and effort creating, is so much better for roleplay!

Back in the day when you rolled Max Flubbo, the randomly generated jester with no stat above 10, you played him until the bitter end! Which was usually the first time encounter now that you mention it.
Very, very true. How many 1e characters did I roll up? Dozens if not hundreds.
How many made it to 2nd level?
I can count on my hand!:smallsmile:

MrZJunior
2016-05-12, 08:47 AM
I like rolling for stats from time to time, but I prefer to do it in a game like S&W where it is really easy to roll up a new character. I often find it is more fun to have an ineffectual character because you have to be more creative.

nedz
2016-05-12, 10:36 AM
I think something the older table top systems never did quite right was unarmed and grapple combat. Seemed to just be some tacked on afterthought that didn't flow right with the rest of the hack-n-slash system.

D&D has had more unarmed combat systems than editions. IIRC AD&D 1E came with three.

All of them jar with the standard mechanic.

kyoryu
2016-05-12, 10:42 AM
I think each of the things mentioned, encumbrance, tracking supplies, randomly generated stats need a reason to be in a game.
Adding it into a game because you like it seems odd. Its more what are these things trying to achieve in the system and is there a better way of doing it then how has currently being done.

Well, yes. But I'd argue that for *any* mechanic in a game. Whether you use randomly rolled stats, a stat array, point buy, or whatever should be made with an eye towards what type of game you're running and the impact on overall gameplay.

But any statement of "X is good! Y is bad!" should be taken with an extreme grain of salt, except for obvious extreme outliers.

Airk
2016-05-12, 11:40 AM
I've never gotten the hatred for rolling for stats; it's very easy for a DM to fix that kind of thing. All you have to do is compare the characters' scores to make sure no one is coming in well behind the others.

I haven't had to penalize anyone's scores yet - though I nearly nerfed our rogue before realizing he wasn't even ahead of the ranger in total ability bonuses - but I did recently toss a new player a bonus Ability Score Improvement because he was coming in 1 bonus behind the lowest bonus total in the group.

Why not just skip the rolling step if you've got some sort of arbitrary floor in mind? What does rolling bring to the table here that you could've have gotten by not bothering?

Telonius
2016-05-12, 12:05 PM
D&D has had more unarmed combat systems than editions. IIRC AD&D 1E came with three.

All of them jar with the standard mechanic.

Grapple rules are probably the most notorious part of that. I'm basically with Darths and Droids (http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0232.html) on that count; they tend to be the most unwieldy, time-consuming, and awful parts of combat.

I still prefer rolling for stats, even if other characters are a lot more powerful than mine; but then I also prefer changing things to make classes more 1- or 2-attribute dependent. (None of this Paladin and Monk nonsense of needing 5 high stats to function well).

Encumbrance by weight is one of those things that makes total sense, but doesn't make fun.

For tracking food and water, my view is that it doesn't matter unless it does. Under normal circumstances, I assume that characters are smart enough to carry enough food with them to survive a decently long trip. Tracking it adds nothing to the gaming experience - unless a lack of food and water is a specific plot point. If you're trudging your way through the Burning Desert, then yes, tracking food and water is probably going to apply. There, it adds a sense of urgency.

valadil
2016-05-12, 12:21 PM
I don't like encumbrance.

It never changes from character to character. I mean, how much stuff is too much will change, but the problem itself doesn't. When a character goes over the encumbrance threshold they hand something off to another character or drop something or find a way to cheat.

I want to play unique characters. Either their personal behavior needs to be unique and interesting. Or the mechanics that back up their abilities need to be unique and interesting. I'm just not interested in doing encumbrance inspired arithmetic any more after ~20 years of gaming.

However, I made my own encumbrance system. I haven't gotten to try it out yet because I had kids and can't game much anymore.

The idea is modeled after video games that use grid slots to store items of different sizes. Updating a grid like this isn't something I'd want to do in a tabletop game, so instead it's just a one dimensional list of slots.

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?254603-Another-way-to-handle-encumbrance

Madbox
2016-05-12, 12:32 PM
Your three of encumbrance, food and water and rolling for abilities, is a lot more just old vs new. The new players, especially 2000 and on hate all that ''old stuff'' as they just want to video game roll play. And rolling of abilities is a great way to play, but sure it does not fit in with the modern ''build'' idea for the roll players. But it's great for a role player. You roll some dice, then create a character off the rolls. A rolled character is unique, and not a lame point buy copy that always have high stats in the wanted stats.

There is noting wrong with the older editions food/water rules or encumbrance rules, if you want to play that type of game.

Some you ''missed'':

Spell Components

Weapon/equipment breakage

Instant Character Death

Any negative effect on a character that can not be removed simply
Hi, post-2000 gamer here. Videogame roleplay? If I wanted that, why would I leave my house? I can sit around and play Fallout or Final Fantasy or something, and not have to deal with humans at all. You think I'd go hang out with argumentative, smelly geeks if I didn't have to?:smalltongue:

As far as weapon/equipment breakage and insta-death, it depends on how it's handled. Did I do something stupid? Yeah, death seems fair. Did I trigger a trap that required a nat 20 to spot, in an area that wouldn't reasonably be trapped? That is BS. And for equipment breaking, are we going all magical video game "It breaks and vanishes into thin air, " or can I hold onto it? A broken sword can be attached to a stick to make a spear, or brought to a smith to be repaired. Armor can be thrown to make noise for a distraction. And what caused it to break? I tried to stab a stone golem? That was stupid of me, and I deserve to have my gear break. I got a nat 1 on an attack? If there's a 5% chance of a weapon breaking from normal use, why did I buy it? It seems like garbage.

wumpus
2016-05-12, 12:48 PM
Very, very true. How many 1e characters did I roll up? Dozens if not hundreds.
How many made it to 2nd level?
I can count on my hand!:smallsmile:

Sure you weren't playing traveler? Oh wait, those characters didn't survive the generation process.

Way back in 1e I had a "type in" BASIC program for the Atari 800 8-bit computer (presumably from Analog or Antic) that I proceeded to extend to destruction. The original had way too many memory tricks (such as using variables for constants) and already used nearly all the memory. My hacks went on and loaded new code overtop the old. I'm pretty sure I never managed to debug the bit that allowed you to buy equipment and then compute encumbrance. My VB(2.0) port had an even sadder tale, eventually I lost the run time disks and only had the (bytecoded) source with know way to edit or run it, nor any (reasonably inexpensive way) to buy VB2.0. I'm sure both are lost now.

2D8HP
2016-05-12, 09:46 PM
Sure you weren't playing traveler? Oh wait, those characters didn't survive the generation process.
I will have you know Sir, that I was such an awesome player that my Traveller characters only died during the generation process!
In Call of Cthullu on the other hand.....

Bohandas
2016-05-13, 01:37 AM
Moving away from the encumbrance / rations/randomness problem, another thing that turn based rpgs don't do well is formation combat. This can be fixed eg by having a single movement phase in the initiative order where everyone in the formation moves, but the RAW usually has everyone move individually which removes the advantages of a close formation eg that the enemy can't get inside it.

You can delay your action until later in the initiative order until everyone's turns are synced up

Mith
2016-05-13, 01:42 AM
Encumbrance is generally ignored by my group. Basically, do not be unreasonable, and everyone keeps track of ammunition, rations, torches, etc. Food and water is also usually resolved with Survivalist characters. Spell components are ignored with the exception of gems. I argue that a wizard can make stuff up as they go along for the most part. That can be wrapped into the variable damage of the spell.

Rolled stats, I prefer over Standard Array (never used Point Buy) personally, but that is more because that is how I approach character generation. Standard Array doesn't feel variable enough. That being said I have found choose between 3 arrays for character generation has usually turned out OK for my group.

While rulesets of individual games can have gaps for modelling scenarios, I feel like most games should be adaptable enough that one can develop a fun system for everyone.

nedz
2016-05-13, 03:51 AM
You can delay your action until later in the initiative order until everyone's turns are synced up

I had this sort of happen in a game a couple of years ago. We all rolled initiatives and, by chance, the monsters all ended up with adjacent initiatives in the sequence. One of the players complained, but it was just random.

Templarkommando
2016-05-14, 01:18 AM
As a DM, there's really only one thing that I will dig the encumbrance rules out for. If the party finds something that weighs a tremendous amount and it's farcical to imagine them carrying it out, I'll pull this as basically a challenge. "If you can show me how you can pull this off while still obeying the encumbrance rules, I'll let you do it." Usually, that's enough to dissuade any but the most minutiae-obsessed players. The only time that I've seen another DM dig it up is in the above situation, but also when the party comes across an extremely vast collection of copper pieces (weight from that actually does add up quickly depending on your edition).

Bohandas
2016-05-14, 02:59 AM
re ability scores, what if you rolled straight 3d6x6, in order, and then applied point buy with those numbers the baselines

PersonMan
2016-05-14, 03:56 AM
Why not just skip the rolling step if you've got some sort of arbitrary floor in mind? What does rolling bring to the table here that you could've have gotten by not bothering?

I think the point is that no one gets screwed over by bad luck. You have the chance to get that amazing statline without having to deal with your friend sitting there with his 4/5/4/3/8/11 "how did he even survive childhood?" setup.

hymer
2016-05-14, 04:30 AM
I think the point is that no one gets screwed over by bad luck. You have the chance to get that amazing statline without having to deal with your friend sitting there with his 4/5/4/3/8/11 "how did he even survive childhood?" setup.

Just give people bigger point buy or stronger arrays, if what they're really interested in is amazing stats. That way they will get them rather than might get them. And everyone's on the same level to boot.

Anonymouswizard
2016-05-14, 08:44 AM
- encumbrance rules: I'll defend encumbrance rules, but it's only when I want to be a bit of a troll. Basically, the GM never thinks about them and the players don't want to be bothered with any more arduous arithmetic than they are already burdened with. They only seem to come up when the GM wants to mess with his players for not bringing an army of manservants.

I've only come across one situation where I like encumbrance rules. A GM I love playing under runs campaigns with very little loot, so encumbrance is generally only updated between sessions and used as a 'is this equipment worth the negative' test. The only time we've had a character start taking penalties is when I decided to have a character wear a metal breastplate and carry three weapons (a light hammer, a pistol, and at one point a rifle).

What I do like to use is recording item storage. I tend to rule that characters drop their backpacks at the start of combat if they wish, and my characters tend to do so when it's allowed, as anything stored in them cannot be accessed without wasting a round or two to dig it out (depending on if rounds are 3-6 seconds long or 10+ seconds). On the other hand I will buy a lot of belt pouches for my characters, as I rule that retrieving and using an item from one can be done with a single item, and encourage players to think about what they want accessible in the middle of combat.


- Rolling for stats: now I'm fully aware that old school players didn't even know what cheating was, and were never bitter about anyone outshining their characters, and that far from blaming the GM for their character's untimely demise, they simply thanked them for the privilege of being at their table, but us sub forty types have issues with having the dice tell us what we're supposed to play, and having Jeff roll so many 18s every time we play.

After having had to roll for stats in a D&D 5e game I plan to join (with a stupid system that went 'roll 8d20, rerolling anything below an 8, and drop the two lowest), and the result being that characters have insane differences in capability (I rolled a character with all positives and 4 20s, at level 3), I tend to hate random generation methods that are just weighted incorrectly (Xd6b3 is good, it gives a range but most results give competent characters), and will always go for point-buy or array when I can (thankfully I'm being allowed to use the standard array). It's ironically because I hate the idea of being ahead of the rest of the party more than I do being behind, and I also like being able to build the sort of character that I like.


- food and water: yeah, we have a thread up on this one. It's painfully apparent that nobody enjoys bookkeeping as much as I do. Le sigh.

I don't tend to go with tracking rations, just because I rarely put characters in a situation where it's strictly necessary, although I will do so if it ever comes up. One thing I am big on is tracking ammunition, and I assume it's being done unless told otherwise (I've had to redo a character's equipment before when I was told we weren't tracking ordinary bullets). I have a character who carries 200 crossbow bolts for this reason (although that character's on hold because the group already has a dwarf, the replacement drow will carry less).


Your three of encumbrance, food and water and rolling for abilities, is a lot more just old vs new. The new players, especially 2000 and on hate all that ''old stuff'' as they just want to video game roll play. And rolling of abilities is a great way to play, but sure it does not fit in with the modern ''build'' idea for the roll players. But it's great for a role player. You roll some dice, then create a character off the rolls. A rolled character is unique, and not a lame point buy copy that always have high stats in the wanted stats.

I'm in my early twenties, and didn't get to play seriously until a few years ago. My greatest annoyance when playing is that I don't think fast enough to roleplay a great character, and tend to stereotype a bit.

However, I love roleplay and investigation focused games. For this reason I love point buy, as it lets me build the character I want to and do so effectively. Sure, wizards tend to have high intelligence, but my Warrior Priest of Sigmar had low Dexterity in a system where it governed all attack rolls, and I tend to dump stats, even potentially important ones (although my first dump is usually Strength or Consitution, it's just my preferred type).

While it can be interesting to roll stats in order and build from there (maybe I'll try it for the next time I use a rolling system I actually like), it leads to a very different kind of character. Maybe my wizard is actually rather strong or my fighter frail, and that gives interesting roleplay opportunities, but it's not what the system was designed for. In essence:
-rolling stats is for problem solving and exploration.
-point buy is for roleplaying.
-Neither version is better for a combat game, and both can be used effectively in game types they aren't theoretically suited for.


I've never gotten the hatred for rolling for stats; it's very easy for a DM to fix that kind of thing. All you have to do is compare the characters' scores to make sure no one is coming in well behind the others.

The 'it isn't broken if I can fix it' argument baffles me. I mean, I know I'd probably try to 'fix it' if I ever used rolled stats, which is why I tend not to. In fact, I think the 'the GM can fix it' is part of what annoys people, as most GMs I know who use it don't bother (the '8d20 blah blah' method above? The GM who uses it refuses to see anything wrong with a party where one character has multiple 18+'s, and another has a 14 in their secondary stat). I could very easily run a group with random stats because I will hand out rerolls or bonuses if a character doesn't have a good primary+secondary, but others don't.

Tanarii
2016-05-14, 11:26 AM
The only time that I've seen another DM dig it up is in the above situation, but also when the party comes across an extremely vast collection of copper pieces (weight from that actually does add up quickly depending on your edition).hell, it adds up fast for Gold in many editions. In BECMI, you can carry maybe 400-800 coins before you are crawling at 30ft/turn. That means if you found a massive hoard at level 1, you couldn't take enough Gold to gain a level from it. It's amazing how fast you realize you've basically been giving characters free movement and treasure as soon as you implement encumberance tracking all the time.

I'm really disappointed that I used to ignore encumberance rules. They add a lot to the game in terms of logistical strategy. And I play RPG games for the strategy element as much as the plot & character development aspect.

the OOD
2016-05-14, 02:16 PM
re ability scores, what if you rolled straight 3d6x6, in order, and then applied point buy with those numbers the baselines


I ran and designed a system that worked like that. it worked well, and the players loved it.

STATS:
STR - strength
CON - constitution
DEX - dexterity
INT - intellect
WILL - willpower
RAP - rapport

roll 3d6 for each stat, in order, then add 1d6 to one stat, and 1d4 to two others.
you may remove 2 points from any stat(s) to raise another stat by one.
no stat may exceed 18.
any stat less than 5 leaves the character crippled in that area(spend dice to raise!)

Health = CON score + STR mod + WILL mod
Sanity = WILL score + RAP mod + CON mod
Defence = 6 + DEX mod
Speed = STR score + DEX score

I think I also offered to let them re-roll their the initial 3d6 rolls one time, keeping the new values, even if they were lower.
ultimately, it offered the advantages of 3d6 in order(randomness, interesting prompt for character design), while still glowing the players some influence over their stats, so they can tweak enough to make their character really come together.

PersonMan
2016-05-14, 05:20 PM
Just give people bigger point buy or stronger arrays, if what they're really interested in is amazing stats. That way they will get them rather than might get them. And everyone's on the same level to boot.

Well, presumably if you roll you don't just want big arrays or point buy. You want to roll, and it feels good to get really lucky.

It just feels bad to get really unlucky. So you mix it up a bit, and create a method that has randomness, has the possibility to get really lucky, but doesn't screw you over if you were a dice-smasher in a previous life - the positives remain, but the main negative aspect is removed.

Replacing it with a big point buy pool, or a strong array, just removes all the positive and negative aspects.

hymer
2016-05-15, 01:49 AM
Well, presumably if you roll you don't just want big arrays or point buy. You want to roll, and it feels good to get really lucky.

It just feels bad to get really unlucky. So you mix it up a bit, and create a method that has randomness, has the possibility to get really lucky, but doesn't screw you over if you were a dice-smasher in a previous life - the positives remain, but the main negative aspect is removed.

Replacing it with a big point buy pool, or a strong array, just removes all the positive and negative aspects.

So basically there are two reasons to roll for stats for you - hoping for luck feels good (because being lucky feels good, the bigger the stakes the more fun), and something along the lines of aesthetics. Rolling for rolling's sake, you might say. It simply feels right.
Did I get it about right?

Takewo
2016-05-15, 06:56 AM
So basically there are two reasons to roll for stats for you - hoping for luck feels good (because being lucky feels good, the bigger the stakes the more fun), and something along the lines of aesthetics. Rolling for rolling's sake, you might say. It simply feels right.
Did I get it about right?

I think it's more like randomness for the sake of randomness. Some people like getting random scores.

hymer
2016-05-15, 07:08 AM
I think it's more like randomness for the sake of randomness. Some people like getting random scores.

I think some of the pro rolling people think so, but it seems PersonMan's views are different.
For randomness, you could get other people to make a random array, or roll and then use point buy to approximate the result as closely as possible.

PersonMan
2016-05-15, 07:32 AM
So basically there are two reasons to roll for stats for you - hoping for luck feels good (because being lucky feels good, the bigger the stakes the more fun), and something along the lines of aesthetics. Rolling for rolling's sake, you might say. It simply feels right.
Did I get it about right?

Oh, this isn't my position at all. I'm just playing Other Guy's Advocate here, and explaining why I think people who roll would want to roll and not use PB, etc.

Regarding the point: That sounds about right. Also: the randomness allows for things like an odd stat lineup that, while playable, might be unorthodox/suboptimal that can lead to a new concept via "how would a person like this be?".

Cluedrew
2016-05-15, 07:48 AM
Personally I don't use the random character generation methods very often, but when I do it is not because I'm hoping for something awesome, it is because I just want to see how things come out.

It is a source of inspiration for characters. What sort of person is the character with exceptional STR & INT, average WIS and bad DEX, CON & CHR? I'm not sure, but I wouldn't mind sitting down with the stat line and some rule-books and figuring it out.

hymer
2016-05-15, 08:28 AM
@ PersonMan: Oh, I see. Thanks for clarifying. :smallsmile:

Psyren
2016-05-15, 10:16 AM
A lot of these come down to bookkeeping, which isn't a game problem, it's a human problem. Okay, it's a game problem if the bookkeeping is impossible to remove or abstract without the game being unplayable, but the big games almost never make it mandatory for that very reason.

Take D&D - encumbrance can be dropped without much of a ripple, especially once extradimensional storage comes into play. Tracking food, water, and most spell components can be dropped even sooner, due to abstracted solutions like "ration packs" and "component pouches."

But like so many other mathematical problems, supplementing the humans with technology makes the bookkeeping easier. The humans don't need to know moment-to-moment how many pounds of items a character is wearing and carrying - what we need to know is whether that character is at light, medium, heavy or maximum load, in order to apply the appropriate penalties. The computer can therefore perform the necessary calculation and spit out the answer.

kyoryu
2016-05-15, 10:38 AM
I think it's more like randomness for the sake of randomness. Some people like getting random scores.

There's a big emphasis in early D&D on "play the hand you're dealt". A lot of player skill in that version is about making the most of what you get (stats/items/etc.) rather than building the perfect combo.

It also works better in early D&D since stats aren't generally *as* important, and if you're playing Open Table, you've probably got a bunch of characters anyway. Getting *a* character with crappy stats is more tolerable if it's not the only character you're ever going to play in that campaign.

Takewo
2016-05-15, 10:57 AM
There's a big emphasis in early D&D on "play the hand you're dealt". A lot of player skill in that version is about making the most of what you get (stats/items/etc.) rather than building the perfect combo.

It also works better in early D&D since stats aren't generally *as* important, and if you're playing Open Table, you've probably got a bunch of characters anyway. Getting *a* character with crappy stats is more tolerable if it's not the only character you're ever going to play in that campaign.

Sounds legit.

hymer
2016-05-15, 11:34 AM
There's a big emphasis in early D&D on "play the hand you're dealt". A lot of player skill in that version is about making the most of what you get (stats/items/etc.) rather than building the perfect combo.

It also works better in early D&D since stats aren't generally *as* important, and if you're playing Open Table, you've probably got a bunch of characters anyway. Getting *a* character with crappy stats is more tolerable if it's not the only character you're ever going to play in that campaign.

When characters have a life expectancy of one and three quarters sessions, it's also a lot less galling to get low numbers than when you expect to be playing your PC for the coming two and half years.

BigKahuna
2016-05-15, 12:25 PM
There's a big emphasis in early D&D on "play the hand you're dealt". A lot of player skill in that version is about making the most of what you get (stats/items/etc.) rather than building the perfect combo.

I think this is the big reason I've switched to a more "old-school" style of DM-ing in my games.

For the first 3 or 4 years that I played D&D, I played and ran games in the more modern style. This included: using point-buys, the general understanding that PCs weren't meant to die unless they did something incredibly stupid, fudging dice rolls, and abstracting rules that required extra work (like encumbrance).

However, the most fun I ever had in that time was when I played with a DM who had been brought up on the older style of playing. Playing with him, and being forced to use all of the rules that I had previously ignored, really made me understand why those rules are in the game and how they can make adventuring seem more challenging.

Recently, I've started a new Pathfinder campaign where I've embraced that style of gaming as a DM. I've cut out everything but the CRB classes and spells (as the extra Pathfinder books tend to massively increase the power of the PCs), and I make my players roll 3d6 for character creation. In fact, one of the guys at my table even rolls 3d6 in order.

In addition to this, I've also embraced randomness as a GM. I've done some light prep work on the setting (I'm drawing a map in hexographer, and I've laid out a political map of the region they are in), but apart from that I show up with no idea what is going to happen in the session and we just see where it takes us. However, I always use proper stat blocks for any NPCs or monsters they encounter (as the d20pfsrd means I can quickly bring up a stat block if they decide to pick a fight with someone), and I don't hide my dice rolls from the players. The players joke that the game sometimes seems like it is taking a while to render as I scramble for character names or NPC stats, but generally it hasn't slowed down the game at all. In fact, the game feels vey much like improvisational theatre that we aren't inflicting on a paying audience.

Having played a very loose sandbox game in this style for about 3 months now (with 3 TPKs and the party barely scraping to level 2), I've got to say that I think other gamers should give it a go. Playing the hand you are dealt at character creation leads to great role-playing opportunities that you don't get when you create a heavily optimised character with point buy.

Your character isn't a big hero who just seems better than other people and, at level 1, every encounter could spell death. It also forces you to get outside of your comfort zone as a player (and as a GM). If you don't roll stats that let you play the classes you traditionally favour, then you get to try playing someone completely outside your wheelhouse. It might not always work out, but you can come up with some pretty unconventional characters in this manner.

Knaight
2016-05-15, 04:00 PM
But like so many other mathematical problems, supplementing the humans with technology makes the bookkeeping easier. The humans don't need to know moment-to-moment how many pounds of items a character is wearing and carrying - what we need to know is whether that character is at light, medium, heavy or maximum load, in order to apply the appropriate penalties. The computer can therefore perform the necessary calculation and spit out the answer.

The humans still need to enter it into the computer, they need to have exact weights defined, so on and so forth. Plus, these games are designed to have people directly do the math, and if that slows down the game it's a game design problem.

Cluedrew
2016-05-15, 05:33 PM
Just remembered this from earlier in the thread:
-Noncombat conflict
It's rare to even find a half decent set of rules for chase scenes, let alone something that isn't action. On top of that, very few games are made well for a game that isn't at some level about fighting things. Then you get into things like tool use in these conflicts, and it's rare to even see a decent attempt.Now I have seen games that do a good job at noncombat things, but they seem to be out-shadowed by the games for which noncombat is an afterthought. Even then almost all of the good solutions still seem to be rules-light, even compared to combat in the same system. Which is not a bad thing (not a good one either) but it is an interesting trend.

Especially in social conflict, in my experience even the games that try to do a good job here rarely achieve more than "good enough". I'm not actually surprised that encoding human behaviour an enormously difficult task. Still most social combat systems seem to either get in the way or make me wonder why we have rules for this.

kyoryu
2016-05-15, 09:09 PM
When characters have a life expectancy of one and three quarters sessions, it's also a lot less galling to get low numbers than when you expect to be playing your PC for the coming two and half years.

That's incredibly inaccurate. While some characters may die quickly, others live for a very, very long time.

I've seen characters in campaigns that have lasted 20+ years.


I think this is the big reason I've switched to a more "old-school" style of DM-ing in my games.

It's a great style. It's not the *only* style, but the main point is to use the rules that support and enhance the style of gaming that you're involved in.

goto124
2016-05-15, 09:11 PM
Wouldn't a 'killer-no-holds-barred' game result in a more video gamey style of playing where roleplaying is minimized because your characters won't last beyond 3 sessions anyway? I personally would get rather comedic and stop taking things so seriously. A valid playstyle I thoroughly enjoy -my default style, in fact, just not one I typically associate with the term 'roleplaying'.

@Cluedrew Probably because most of us humans have an innate understanding of a type of situation we engage in every day for our entire lives (even if online), while a majority of these same people do not have the same level of understanding on physical combat.

kyoryu
2016-05-15, 09:31 PM
I think that's two statements/questions, actually.

1) If you have a playstyle where players die quickly, does the game turn comedic?

It certainly can. Look at Paranoia.

2) Old-school games were about super lethality where character lifespan was three sessions.

Disagree. Heavily. Death *happened*, and was always a possibility, which is why you tried you damnedest to avoid it.

2D8HP
2016-05-15, 09:35 PM
Wouldn't a 'killer-no-holds-barred' game result in a more video gamey style of playing where roleplaying is minimized because your characters won't last beyond 3 sessions anyway? I personally would get rather comedic and stop taking things so seriously. A valid playstyle I thoroughly enjoy -my default style, in fact, just not one I typically associate with the term 'roleplaying'.

While I've never actually played much in the way of modern video games, IIRC how we played in "Ye olden times" (late 70's to mid 80's) yeah you pretty much nailed it.:smallbiggrin:

goto124
2016-05-15, 09:44 PM
I think that's two statements/questions, actually.

1) If you have a playstyle where players die quickly, does the game turn comedic?

It certainly can. Look at Paranoia.

2) Old-school games were about super lethality where character lifespan was three sessions.

Disagree. Heavily. Death *happened*, and was always a possibility, which is why you tried you damnedest to avoid it.

1) I think a GM who does that will soon have no more players :smalltongue:

2) I remember playing a game where I did my very best to survive (and stats were more or less randomly generated). Roleplay was even more out of the window, since survival was a thousand times more important than 'sticking to character', and the only viable playstyle was 'paranoid'. I quit the game after a while because I couldn't do anything that was actually fun in there.

hymer
2016-05-16, 12:38 AM
That's incredibly inaccurate. While some characters may die quickly, others live for a very, very long time.

I've seen characters in campaigns that have lasted 20+ years.

I think you're missing my point. I'm not saying the play style is bad because you can never get close to a character. I'm not saying it's bad at all (though my personal preference runs in a different direction).
If you don't expect a given character to last, you don't invest with them from the beginning. Part of the game you describe is accepting a high risk. You only invest with them after they've survived their formative sessions, at which point you've come to terms with whatever stats they have.

lacco36
2016-05-16, 01:47 AM
2) I remember playing a game where I did my very best to survive (and stats were more or less randomly generated). Roleplay was even more out of the window, since survival was a thousand times more important than 'sticking to character', and the only viable playstyle was 'paranoid'. I quit the game after a while because I couldn't do anything that was actually fun in there.

I remember the "Lethal games" discussion :smallsmile:. And I still think it's possible to roleplay also in these conditions.


I think you're missing my point. I'm not saying the play style is bad because you can never get close to a character. I'm not saying it's bad at all (though my personal preference runs in a different direction).
If you don't expect a given character to last, you don't invest with them from the beginning. Part of the game you describe is accepting a high risk. You only invest with them after they've survived their formative sessions, at which point you've come to terms with whatever stats they have.

If Playground has taught me anything at all, it's approaching every playstile with interest and open mind - because my personal preferences have turned upside down once I have tried out some advice that was posted here.

Thanks to few of the people who post here, I am already thinking of playing D&D, which is something that I haven't done since I found out that there are non-d20 systems. And that's quite a feat... :smallsmile:

So, look at it like this: you have maybe one or two sessions to play with a character. He dies then (most probably) - won't you roleplay him to the fullest?

Because what I have seen in my games - and what irked me for some reasons - was that players tend to play it too safe. Most of my players, when asked about it, told me they wanted to play heroes, epic stories, dangerous combats, etc. When I presented them with an opportunity, they played it safe - ignored the epic battle/showdown. Why? Because they knew that if they play it safe, their characters don't die.

I then ran a one-shot with completely discardable characters and it was 100% more heroic - why? The players were the same. The game rules were the same.

So, next time - when a GM presents you with a narrow bridge and 400 orcs chasing your party through it, hopefully one of you will stop and stand his ground there. I know I'd make it worthwhile to the player who would - and even would think about saving him. But the best part - what is more heroic than disregarding your own life in a dire situation like that?

And before you ask - I have never had a TPK in my gaming history.

Tanarii
2016-05-16, 01:56 AM
Wouldn't a 'killer-no-holds-barred' game result in a more video gamey style of playing where roleplaying is minimized because your characters won't last beyond 3 sessions anyway? I personally would get rather comedic and stop taking things so seriously. A valid playstyle I thoroughly enjoy -my default style, in fact, just not one I typically associate with the term 'roleplaying'.Well, supposedly the entirety of D&D was taking the piss out of all the genres it was stealing from, and was intentionally comedic-ish. To a relatively large degree. Also, most of the initial characters who had names were just the players name in reverse. But you have to remember, they were war gamers basically scaling down from units to individual characters, so in-depth characters at start of play wouldn't make much sense. You were just playing a basic soldier from the unit, or the chaplain, etc. (Talking about oD&D and Gygax and Arneson's original campaigns here.)

And roleplaying means something very different now. OG roleplaying meant 'making decisions as a player for your character in-game.' Personally I define it now as: making in-character decisions as a player for your character in-game. If you pay close attention, you'll note even my definition is a pretty huge difference, despite being one word different. And my definition of roleplaying isn't very common, it's far closer to the original than most folks. For a lot of people, they mean storytelling time when they say roleplaying.

That said, no I don't find that a high lethality campaign using more modern rules has caused a comedic death spiral. Instead I find players focus on staying alive. Like, really focus on it. They don't assume they'll live.

Of course, 5e (or any other post-1e edition) is a hell of a lot more survivable than 1e or BECMI even when run as combat-as-war, with no expectation of the DM saving your ass from yourself or your heroics. And second, the players knew it was going to be a dangerous campaign from the get go specifically as an exception to the normal more 'modern' style of play. I strongly suspect both of those would change how the players perceive the campaign compared to an original 1e game.

Doorhandle
2016-05-16, 02:13 AM
So I've been reading some old threads in different forums and noticed that there seem to be some things that just don't work very well in gaming. I'm talking about those things that are in the rules but you either a) never played with or b) tried a few times, then all agreed to never talk about again. So let's talk about some of them:

- encumbrance rules: I'll defend encumbrance rules, but it's only when I want to be a bit of a troll. Basically, the GM never thinks about them and the players don't want to be bothered with any more arduous arithmetic than they are already burdened with. They only seem to come up when the GM wants to mess with his players for not bringing an army of manservants.

- Rolling for stats: now I'm fully aware that old school players didn't even know what cheating was, and were never bitter about anyone outshining their characters, and that far from blaming the GM for their character's untimely demise, they simply thanked them for the privilege of being at their table, but us sub forty types have issues with having the dice tell us what we're supposed to play, and having Jeff roll so many 18s every time we play.

- food and water: yeah, we have a thread up on this one. It's painfully apparent that nobody enjoys bookkeeping as much as I do. Le sigh.

Is there a game that handles one of these well? Can you think of some I've missed? Have I inadvertently insulted your family's honor? Let me know!

I personally think inventory with D&D groups would be handled better if there was a group inventory shared by the party and put somewhere everyone could see it. Sort of like in Brick-Quest, (http://gunth.com/brickquest/) where there is a small chest per character; you can carry as much lego stuff as fits into the chest.

hymer
2016-05-16, 03:26 AM
I remember the "Lethal games" discussion :smallsmile:. And I still think it's possible to roleplay also in these conditions.

I've seen that difference in my games, too. Having PCs being more expendable certainly makes them act differently, no doubt. Whether it's a good difference varies from group to group.
I can't help thinking that standing on the bridge to await certain, heroic doom is a lot less impressive and memorable for a character you know you'll never play again than it is for a character you know and love. You're writing the poignant end to a story, and the poignancy is directly related to how you relate to the character.

goto124
2016-05-16, 04:29 AM
I personally define roleplaying as 'making decisions your character would make, that you the player would not make when presented with a similiar situation'. I use this definition after hearing about players deliberately making non-optimal choices because their characters would've made those choices, they can't help it.

It is a restrictive definition though...

lacco36
2016-05-16, 04:58 AM
I personally define roleplaying as 'making decisions your character would make, that you the player would not make when presented with a similiar situation'. I use this definition after hearing about players deliberately making non-optimal choices because their characters would've made those choices, they can't help it.

It is a restrictive definition though...

I think we should discuss the roleplaying definitions elsewhere... still: I agree with both your definition and your view of it. However, it's not the only definition of roleplaying (or better - it's not the only definition of "good" roleplaying).

I think it's too narrow, for one purpose - and fits only one specific point of view.
I have played with groups, where a non-optimal, but character-focused choice was applauded.
I have played with players who intentionally sabotage their dice pools/target numbers, because "well, he would be tired, wouldn't he?".

So - check with the group. There are groups where anything sub-optimal is considered lacking. There are groups, where players place their own penalties on their characters for the sake of roleplaying. And there are groups, which just want to have fun - or want to have "unfun" (grimdark, anyone?) :smallsmile:. "Good roleplaying" may differ from group to group.

EDIT: to original topic:

Encumbrance rules - the best ones were "see this picture - if you are similarly burdened, you are in this encumbrance class".

Rolling for stats - good if you get several PCs, bad if you get only one. I prefer build points (Shadowrun) and priority selection (makes you choose in the beginning...good exercise for games that are about difficult choices:smallsmile:).

Food and water - I feel your pain, grimsly. I'm still in love with ADOM, where my most-advanced fighter died while attacked by werejackals (who called forth further jackals up until he was drowning in them) - he died of starvation as they fought for whole day... :smallbiggrin:. I'm big fan of fatigue/starvation/dehydration rules, but have yet to find sufficiently well-working system. :smallfrown:

Earthwalker
2016-05-16, 06:24 AM
Well, yes. But I'd argue that for *any* mechanic in a game. Whether you use randomly rolled stats, a stat array, point buy, or whatever should be made with an eye towards what type of game you're running and the impact on overall gameplay.

But any statement of "X is good! Y is bad!" should be taken with an extreme grain of salt, except for obvious extreme outliers.

What you are saying here is true. I think the point I was circling but not making was this.

If you are looking for systems that do encumbrance (for example) well, what are you expecting from that system. What do you want encumbrance rules to add to your game. That might make it easier to find a system that has a "good" encumbrance system.

Erm when I say you, I mean a general you I aren't calling on just Kyoryu

nedz
2016-05-16, 07:32 AM
That's incredibly inaccurate. While some characters may die quickly, others live for a very, very long time.

I've seen characters in campaigns that have lasted 20+ years.

Old school quote
There are Old Characters and there are Bold characters, but there are very few Old and Bold characters.

Winter_Wolf
2016-05-16, 08:26 AM
I always play with encumbrance, prefer rolled stats, and if we never deal with food/water/rations, it's only because no one else wants to. But truly these things work more easily in computer games because of the bookkeeping and additional maths.

My big issue with encumbrance is that it's so often interpreted as weight. Has anyone ever tried walking around with full hiking kit and a few things you've randomly picked up? Just a full hiker's pack where you've neglected to strap and clip every bit of weight redistribution harness? Tried carrying an actual ten foot pole? I know some people have. Taking things that are even similar to ten foot poles down a corridor is a hassle (life lessons from home renovation, yay!) when you're not worrying about slipping on muck or getting shanked by a kobold. And they're not exactly the heaviest of things, even metal pipes.

goto124
2016-05-16, 08:28 AM
My big issue with encumbrance is that it's so often interpreted as weight.

Nooooooooo! The encumbrance system is now even more of an encumbrance upon the players! D:

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-16, 08:29 AM
I personally define roleplaying as 'making decisions your character would make, that you the player would not make when presented with a similiar situation'. I use this definition after hearing about players deliberately making non-optimal choices because their characters would've made those choices, they can't help it.

It is a restrictive definition though...

The problem with that definition is that I've seen players who deliberately make repeated sub-optimal decisions with characters who should know better, because they've gotten the idea in their head that struggle and failure are the marks of good story and roleplaying.

Jay R
2016-05-16, 08:29 AM
Is there a game that handles one of these well?

You have confused "things done poorly" with "things I don't like". Most games with "rolling for stats" do it reasonably well. People don't complain about how it's done, they complain about doing it at all.


Having a randomly created character, instead of one you spent a lot of time and effort creating, is so much better for roleplay!

It's not a randomly created character. It's a character I build out of randomly created stats. The dice decided one of my earliest characters had high DEX, average INT, and low strength. I decided that he was a neutral hobbit thief, that he was falsely accused of a crime and had to flee his homeland, that his name was Robin Banks, what weapons and other equipment he carried, that he was only willing to steal from people who deserved it, etc.

Two of my early characters were both wizards, based on the dice. But Endora was very different from Morgan. She was a talker; he was dour. She was young and idealistic; he was middle-aged and cynical.

If you don't want to play that way, that's fine. But calling it a "randomly created character" is an unfair over-simplification.


Weapon/equipment breakage

I tell my players before character design that if the party includes somebody with bowyer/fletcher skills, they won't have to track numbers of arrows. If somebody has hunting & somebody has fishing, they won't have to track food in the wilderness. Cuts down a lot of annoyance.

goto124
2016-05-16, 08:57 AM
The problem with that definition is that I've seen players who deliberately make repeated sub-optimal decisions with characters who should know better, because they've gotten the idea in their head that struggle and failure are the marks of good story and roleplaying.

Yeah, when I came up with the definition my thought process went:

"What is the difference between making an optimal choice because I the player would make that choice to maximize performance, and making the same optimal choice because the character would make that choice to maximize performance?"

Making nothing but sub-optimal choices for entire sessions doesn't work outside comedic campaigns. Though, I find that I have the opposite problem - I don't dare to make sub-optimal choices, I don't want my character to suffer, or to face the OOC consequences of pissing off my fellow players because I led their characters into a dead end, or such. When I play, the players and GM are having fun, managing to roleplay, while I feel like I'm not actually doing anything - but if I actually try to do something, I somehow end up making a highly upsetting decision that cuts down on everyone's fun.

My first rule in gaming is "don't be a disruptive jerk". I do my best to avoid struggle and failure, and get very very upset and cry for weeks IRL when it does happen. I felt this is decreasing the amount of fun that I am having, leading to me cutting out my Mary Sues and trying to replace them with new characters. Only one of them worked so far - a wannabe knight, but because he plays along and avoids trouble in whatever game he's in, with most of my roleplaying in how he presents himself (which doesn't actually change his/my choices). I can't bring myself to put flaws in my characters, which is why character generation has been slow for me.

Or I could continue playing single-player games and watching other people's games. It's worked well for me.


I tell my players before character design that if the party includes somebody with bowyer/fletcher skills, they won't have to track numbers of arrows. If somebody has hunting & somebody has fishing, they won't have to track food in the wilderness. Cuts down a lot of annoyance.

Bookkeeping: Not for tabletop?

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-16, 09:05 AM
Yeah, when I came up with the definition my thought process went:

"What is the difference between making an optimal choice because I the player would make that choice to maximize performance, and making the same optimal choice because the character would make that choice to maximize performance?"

Making nothing but sub-optimal choices for entire sessions doesn't work outside comedic campaigns. Though, I find that I have the opposite problem - I don't dare to make sub-optimal choices, I don't want my character to suffer, or to face the OOC consequences of pissing off my fellow players because I led their characters into a dead end, or such. When I play, the players and GM are having fun, managing to roleplay, while I feel like I'm not actually doing anything - but if I actually try to do something, I somehow end up making a highly upsetting decision that cuts down on everyone's fun.

My first rule in gaming is "don't be a disruptive jerk". I do my best to avoid struggle and failure, and get very very upset and cry for weeks IRL when it does happen. I'm starting to feel this is decreasing the amount of fun that I am having, now if only I knew how to fix it.

Or I could continue playing single-player games and watching other people's games. It's worked well for me.


There's a difference between trying to get it right and things not working out (natural failure, can't be avoided entirely even by the most awesome) and failing for the sake of failure (deliberate failure, can be avoided by anyone).

I don't know the specifics of your situation, but from the outside, if your gaming group is getting that upset over situations where you and your character are trying to do your best and it doesn't work out, then maybe the source of "unfun" isn't you or your character.

grimsly
2016-05-16, 09:08 AM
You've missed a few. While there's at least one game that gets all of these right, they're horribly outnumbered by the ones that screw it up in some way.

-Noncombat conflict
It's rare to even find a half decent set of rules for chase scenes, let alone something that isn't action. On top of that, very few games are made well for a game that isn't at some level about fighting things. Then you get into things like tool use in these conflicts, and it's rare to even see a decent attempt.

-Vehicle rules
It's one thing when a fantasy game is sloppy about this, but it happens all the time in modern and even futuristic settings. A normally rules light game suddenly turns into a horrible bloat of crunch (d6 Space), a normally rules heavy game suddenly decides to dial up the weight yet further until it gets out of control (GURPS Vehicles), or they turn into decoration which does jack-all.

You want a game that is the same level of crunch for vehicles as for everything else? Well, you can check Icar. Mind you, I'm not saying the vehicle system is simple, I'm just saying the rest of the game is just as complicated. Also, it not only has no rules for nonrandom stats, it has random character traits as well! Having a narcoleptic cyber-monk on a team with a kleptomaniac with power over Wi-Fi currents and some dude with mild depression over how ordinary he is is the sort of experience no amount of time or counseling can make you forget...


Start here: http://blogofholding.com/?series=mornard

There's some good stuff on dragonsfoot.org, and the old grognardia blog, as well.

Thank you for the link, I love a good game blog.


Moving away from the encumbrance / rations/randomness problem, another thing that turn based rpgs don't do well is formation combat. This can be fixed eg by having a single movement phase in the initiative order where everyone in the formation moves, but the RAW usually has everyone move individually which removes the advantages of a close formation eg that the enemy can't get inside it.

You know what else puts the brakes on combat formations? Fire breathing dragons. Just putting it out there.


The humans still need to enter it into the computer, they need to have exact weights defined, so on and so forth. Plus, these games are designed to have people directly do the math, and if that slows down the game it's a game design problem.

I think the main reason I don't do encumbrance is because I majored in math, and it actively pains me to hear people complain about having to add and subtract decimals.


The problem with that definition is that I've seen players who deliberately make repeated sub-optimal decisions with characters who should know better, because they've gotten the idea in their head that struggle and failure are the marks of good story and roleplaying.

Yes, because characters who actively decide to go fight horrific monsters for a living have no interest in doing it well.

I suppose I ought to come clean about this thread, I'm building a game, and I have this idea of trying to fix these sorts of issues. I don't expect the game to be great, it's more a proof of concept sort of thing.

Anyway, the whole "playing your character= playing badly" is something I'm trying to circumvent by tying character motivations into advancement, thus tricking power gamers into role-playing, and tricking thespians into not sucking.

Also, anybody else ever tried to play as:

- sidekicks: this is an awesome story idea, we'll focus on everyone else's characters and I'll just be there to help. Team spirit!... How come I never do anything?

goto124
2016-05-16, 09:11 AM
There's a difference between trying to get it right and things not working out (natural failure, can't be avoided entirely even by the most awesome) and failing for the sake of failure (deliberate failure, can be avoided by anyone).

Is it important to invoke deliberate failure when roleplaying? Or should I just stop taking things so personally when I make a decision that results in natural failure?


- sidekicks: this is an awesome story idea, we'll focus on everyone else's characters and I'll just be there to help. Team spirit!... How come I never do anything?

I think I have accidentally done this. I need character concepts that I'm actually willing to play out, instead of cutting back in fear of 'pissing off other players'.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-16, 09:37 AM
Is it important to invoke deliberate failure when roleplaying? Or should I just stop taking things so personally when I make a decision that results in natural failure?


No, it's not important to fail deliberately -- that's the sort of fail it's important to avoid.

Don't beat yourself up if, in playing the game, natural failure occurs. Just learn from it and move on. If it's bugging you later, see if you can strike up a friendly conversation about what could have been done differently.

Earthwalker
2016-05-16, 09:40 AM
[snip]
I suppose I ought to come clean about this thread, I'm building a game, and I have this idea of trying to fix these sorts of issues. I don't expect the game to be great, it's more a proof of concept sort of thing.
[snip]


May I ask what you are wanting to achieve with rules for
Encumbrance
Rolling for Stats
Tracking of resources (food / water)
What do you want to add to the feel of the game or how do you want the above rules to limit the scope of the game?



Anyway, the whole "playing your character= playing badly" is something I'm trying to circumvent by tying character motivations into advancement, thus tricking power gamers into role-playing, and tricking thespians into not sucking.


Sometimes playing your character means you have different ideas on what is optimal. Say there is character, a young knight and she is desperately in love with a young beau.
An encounter happens involving the knights true love. The knight sees that her most optimal choice is to protect her true love. The rest of the group is interested in survival and the elimination of the bad guys.
As the knight dives in front of a crossbow bolt intended for her intended thatís a stupid choice. The knight is hurting the groups effectiveness for some NPC, worst of all an NPC that isnít even helping in the fight !!
Clearly the optimal choice (from a group perspective) is to let the NPC eat as many crossbow bolts as possible itís not like they are helping in the fight.

goto124
2016-05-16, 09:50 AM
No, it's not important to fail deliberately -- that's the sort of fail it's important to avoid.

*gets ready to throw definition of 'roleplaying' out of the window*

But wait! If I don't make sub-optimal decisions, how is roleplaying different from playing as myself?


Sometimes playing your character means you have different ideas on what is optimal. Say there is character, a young knight and she is desperately in love with a young beau.
An encounter happens involving the knights true love. The knight sees that her most optimal choice is to protect her true love. The rest of the group is interested in survival and the elimination of the bad guys.
As the knight dives in front of a crossbow bolt intended for her intended thatís a stupid choice. The knight is hurting the groups effectiveness for some NPC, worst of all an NPC that isnít even helping in the fight !!
Clearly the optimal choice (from a group perspective) is to let the NPC eat as many crossbow bolts as possible itís not like they are helping in the fight.

When I said 'optimal choice', I had meant 'choice that is most optimal in the views of the player'.

lacco36
2016-05-16, 09:54 AM
Anyway, the whole "playing your character= playing badly" is something I'm trying to circumvent by tying character motivations into advancement, thus tricking power gamers into role-playing, and tricking thespians into not sucking.

Check Spiritual Attributes in RoS. They worked miracles for my players in past. In the example that Earthwalker provided, the knight would get bonus dice for protecting his true love, and the equivalent of XP for doing so or even for failing (but trying). In case he died - the XP he accumulated sum up to "Insight", which allows you higher priorities during character build (=better starting character).


Is it important to invoke deliberate failure when roleplaying? Or should I just stop taking things so personally when I make a decision that results in natural failure?

I think I have accidentally done this. I need character concepts that I'm actually willing to play out, instead of cutting back in fear of 'pissing off other players'.

Again - depends on a table, players and GM.

I can only speak for myself and for my players - we never had any OOC argument about someone "not pulling weight" or "making decision that resulted in failure". There were occassions where a player did something really stupid (extreme examples include combing hair in the middle of the combat, trying to make difficult jumps when the character in question was a mage and had "levitate" as spell), but normally, if you do something and fail, and it is entertaining or considered being "in character" and not directly distruptive (e.g. killing a king because "he looked at me funny"), nobody gets upset.

Opposite case: party was hiding, planning an ambush on a orc caravan. The player who played a knight with "overconfident" flaw, just announced he's going to stand in enemy's path. Orcs noticed him, and prepared. The rest of party just stared in disbelief, when he announced his full name, titles and asked them to surrender. Orcs all started laughing, drew weapons and approached the knight, while the party leader just huddled the others up, and with a sigh ("ok, let's go save him...") presented additional plan - and used the knight as distraction.
After the game, he was praised for the roleplaying aspect - but the player stated, he'll never do it because the beating he received from orcs healed him from overconfidence :smallbiggrin:



EDIT: One question for goto124:...ok, few questions:

I need character concepts that I'm actually willing to play out, instead of cutting back in fear of 'pissing off other players'.
What character concept would piss off other players? Care to give an example?

And what is considered "failure" in your games/at your table?

Winter_Wolf
2016-05-16, 10:11 AM
Nooooooooo! The encumbrance system is now even more of an encumbrance upon the players! D:

I...I can't tell if you're joking. But in either case, a couple of five pound cinder blocks is a lot less cumbersome than twenty half pound bricks. I could potentially carry one cinder block in each hand just fine, but trying to carry the equivalent weight with a stack of smaller bricks doesn't work out well. A container helps, but a bag o' bricks isn't much fun either. Might not be the most refined analogy, but good enough for now.

grimsly
2016-05-16, 10:21 AM
May I ask what you are wanting to achieve with rules for
Encumbrance
Rolling for Stats
Tracking of resources (food / water)
What do you want to add to the feel of the game or how do you want the above rules to limit the scope of the game?



Sometimes playing your character means you have different ideas on what is optimal. Say there is character, a young knight and she is desperately in love with a young beau.
An encounter happens involving the knights true love. The knight sees that her most optimal choice is to protect her true love. The rest of the group is interested in survival and the elimination of the bad guys.
As the knight dives in front of a crossbow bolt intended for her intended thatís a stupid choice. The knight is hurting the groups effectiveness for some NPC, worst of all an NPC that isnít even helping in the fight !!
Clearly the optimal choice (from a group perspective) is to let the NPC eat as many crossbow bolts as possible itís not like they are helping in the fight.

To the question: honestly it's a mainly academic pursuit, but the hope is to have interesting choices spring from all of them. As far as random stats I'm playing around with an XP system that let's weaker characters level faster, so that you can feel rewarded for having to suffer through the first few levels. Encumbrance, well ideally heavily outfitted characters will feel different in play than lightly outfitted characters, probably going to be number of actions, and food... I want going on a voyage to mean something, and food seems like it ought to help with that.

As for the knight of yours, well...


Check Spiritual Attributes in RoS. They worked miracles for my players in past. In the example that Earthwalker provided, the knight would get bonus dice for protecting his true love, and the equivalent of XP for doing so or even for failing (but trying). In case he died - the XP he accumulated sum up to "Insight", which allows you higher priorities during character build (=better starting character).


Yep, that's the basic idea. I'm glad to see somebody has thought of this, I couldn't figure out why I never saw it done before.

goto124
2016-05-16, 10:25 AM
Check Spiritual Attributes in RoS. They worked miracles for my players in past. In the example that Earthwalker provided, the knight would get bonus dice for protecting his true love, and the equivalent of XP for doing so or even for failing (but trying). In case he died - the XP he accumulated sum up to "Insight", which allows you higher priorities during character build (=better starting character).

How many characters am I supposed to kill with this system? Sounds like a game where one would make many suicidal-for-own-beliefs characters, otherwise there's no mechanical benefit to be gained for roleplaying.

lacco36
2016-05-16, 10:38 AM
How many characters am I supposed to kill with this system? Sounds like a game where one would make many suicidal-for-own-beliefs characters, otherwise there's no mechanical benefit to be gained for roleplaying.

Ideally? None.

Let's take the knight character and put "Passion - Love for the Lady" with 3 points on his charsheet.
When he defends her, he gains the value in this attribute as bonus dice for rolls (average combat dice pool is around 10, so the +3 gives you good advantage).
When he succeeds, he gains 2 additional points to this attributes, when fails, he gains at least 1 if he really tried. When he disregards her, lets the enemy eat as many crossbow bolts as possible without taking action - or tries it himself, he loses points from the attribute/loses the attribute.
Now let's say he succeeded. He has 5 points in the attribute - which he can spend to improve his character (e.g. attributes, skills). The points he uses this way, he adds to "Insight".
So basically, you improve your character, but once it dies, you get an advantage in building your next one (up to AAABCD priorities, which allow you to build an equivalent of L10 character in world where L2 chars beginning heroes :smallbiggrin:).

And as you can see - even if you at least try, you don't lose points. So no real benefit from getting killed a lot. But a good benefit that gives you reason to roleplay.

Jay R
2016-05-16, 10:42 AM
... otherwise there's no mechanical benefit to be gained for roleplaying.

I'm not after a mechanical benefit to be gained for roleplaying. I just want there to be no mechanical drawback to role-playing.

I play the role because it's fun. It doesn't need a reward; it is the reward. I just don't want a penalty for it.

kyoryu
2016-05-16, 11:11 AM
*gets ready to throw definition of 'roleplaying' out of the window*

But wait! If I don't make sub-optimal decisions, how is roleplaying different from playing as myself?

Ultimately, most people are very attached to their lives, and do not throw them away cheaply.

Democratus
2016-05-16, 11:37 AM
Ultimately, most people are very attached to their lives, and do not throw them away cheaply.

If the player had fun throwing away a PC's life, then it wasn't done cheaply.

JoeJ
2016-05-16, 01:14 PM
May I ask what you are wanting to achieve with rules for
Encumbrance
Rolling for Stats
Tracking of resources (food / water)
What do you want to add to the feel of the game or how do you want the above rules to limit the scope of the game?

Encumbrance and tracking of things like food, water, and ammunition are absolutely vital for any kind of adventure that is supposed to test the party's endurance, whether that's exploring the wilderness, getting the wagon train safely to California, or fleeing a relentless pursuer.

Rolling for stats forces players think creatively about their character as they try to decide how to best play the hand the RNG dealt them.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-16, 01:35 PM
Rolling for stats forces players think creatively about their character as they try to decide how to best play the hand the RNG dealt them.


Why not just hand each player a pregen at that point?

Democratus
2016-05-16, 01:39 PM
Why not just hand each player a pregen at that point?

This can also work really well in the right context.

Present the party with 10 or so pregens. Everyone picks one, takes 5 min to read over, and then you are up and running!

Had some awesome, memorable campaigns that started in this manner.

JoeJ
2016-05-16, 01:44 PM
Why not just hand each player a pregen at that point?

Why should I do all the work of creating that many characters?

More importantly, there's a significant difference between creating your own character from a set of die rolls and being given a character for which you had no real creative input at all. There's nothing at all wrong with using pregens, but it's not the same thing.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-16, 01:57 PM
Why should I do all the work of creating that many characters?

More importantly, there's a significant difference between creating your own character from a set of die rolls and being given a character for which you had no real creative input at all. There's nothing at all wrong with using pregens, but it's not the same thing.

Then why not let them build a character from the foundation up?

To me, there's little difference between "here's your character, now have fun", and "here are the foundational attributes that make up what sort of character you can play, make something up that fits that, now have fun".

If a player ran a mage last campaign, and would rather run a fighter this time... where's the sense in saying "sorry, the dice gave you a high INT, guess you're playing another mage, or an ineffective fighter."

Takewo
2016-05-16, 02:12 PM
If a player ran a mage last campaign, and would rather run a fighter this time... where's the sense in saying "sorry, the dice gave you a high INT, guess you're playing another mage, or an ineffective fighter."

Unless the system allows you to distribute the randomly generated scores as you will.

JoeJ
2016-05-16, 02:15 PM
Then why not let them build a character from the foundation up?

To me, there's little difference between "here's your character, now have fun", and "here are the foundational attributes that make up what sort of character you can play, make something up that fits that, now have fun".

If a player ran a mage last campaign, and would rather run a fighter this time... where's the sense in saying "sorry, the dice gave you a high INT, guess you're playing another mage, or an ineffective fighter."

Just because it's not something you enjoy doesn't mean that it's wrong, or that other people might not prefer it.

kyoryu
2016-05-16, 02:32 PM
If the player had fun throwing away a PC's life, then it wasn't done cheaply.

That's so out of context.

The point is that most people have a serious desire to not die, therefore most life-preserving behavior can be considered in-character.

Delusion
2016-05-16, 02:57 PM
The "there needs to be mechanical benefit for making suboptimal choices for rp reasons" is really alien mindset to me. If a knight chooses to protect the npc instead of helping the party then the reward is that you saved the npc. Perhaps in the future that npc or another npc will now view the party more favorably in the future. So was it even suboptimal? You saved someone! Perhaps it might be seen suboptimal if another pc got hurt or even killed because of that, but that just means you have to live with the consequences of your choices.

Democratus
2016-05-16, 03:41 PM
That's so out of context.

The point is that most people have a serious desire to not die, therefore most life-preserving behavior can be considered in-character.

Characters aren't "most people". They are a cut above (and sometime beyond) normal folk.

It's easy for a player to decide that their character sacrifices their life for any reason they see fit. It is, by definition, something the character would do.

kyoryu
2016-05-16, 03:58 PM
Characters aren't "most people". They are a cut above (and sometime beyond) normal folk.

It's easy for a player to decide that their character sacrifices their life for any reason they see fit. It is, by definition, something the character would do.

Of course.

However, it's also fairly reasonable to assume that preserving their life is something most characters would do in almost all circumstances.

You seem to think I'm arguing that characters would never choose to sacrifice themselves. That's not the case. I'm just saying that, in almost every circumstance, acting to preserve their lives is at least *a* possible, in-character option.

Jay R
2016-05-16, 04:36 PM
Why not just hand each player a pregen at that point?

Because the people who enjoy rolling stats to base a character on, actually do enjoy rolling stats to base a character on, of course.


Then why not let them build a character from the foundation up?

Because the people who enjoy rolling stats to base a character on, actually do enjoy rolling stats to base a character on, of course.

People have different tastes, and enjoy different things.


To me, there's little difference between "here's your character, now have fun", and "here are the foundational attributes that make up what sort of character you can play, make something up that fits that, now have fun".

That's a good reason for you to treat them as if there's little difference between them.

It is not a good reason for people who enjoy rolling stats to base a character on, to treat them as if there's little difference between them.

People who disagree with you aren't going to agree with you. Really. And they are going to play the game a way that they enjoy, even if you wouldn't enjoy it.


If a player ran a mage last campaign, and would rather run a fighter this time... where's the sense in saying "sorry, the dice gave you a high INT, guess you're playing another mage, or an ineffective fighter."

Agreed. If people want to have that much control over who their character is, then they should play a game that gives them that much control over who their character is. If they only like playing the only way you like to play, then they shouldn't be forced to play another way.

But that doesn't describe the people who willingly entered a game that includes rolling dice for stats. They are people who are willing to play a game of rolling dice for stats and building a player out of them.

People who think differently from you, actually think differently from you.

2D8HP
2016-05-16, 05:27 PM
If a player ran a mage last campaign, and would rather run a fighter this time... where's the sense in saying "sorry, the dice gave you a high INT, guess you're playing another mage, or an ineffective fighter."IIRC, most likely we did choose to play an "ineffective fighter" instead of a Mage. The stats didn't matter as much in oD&D (they mattered a little bit more in AD&D but still not as much as they do in 5e).
But hit points, oh yes they mattered!

Roughishguy86
2016-05-16, 05:54 PM
Does the most possible damage is not equal to Most optimal character choice in every situation

Some of the greatest characters i've ever played had average stats and spent most of their time talking or thinking their way out of situations.

Killing everything is not the optimal choice all the time.

Cluedrew
2016-05-16, 05:54 PM
On Role-playing: For me it is simple: Acting as the character would. OK there is a not simple part and that is figuring out how the character would act. Plus there is creating a character that acts in a reasonable way given the campaign. So maybe it isn't so simple.

On Random Character Generation: Personally I usually use methods that give me more control over the character, but there are times when I do this sort of thing. Usually it is to give me an idea, often if I don't have a character concept ready I'll do something "random" (like rolling or flipping through a list of options) to get me going and then use whatever decision method is available. Actually I've never done a 3d6 in order character generation game, but I have enjoyed bits of randomness.

kyoryu
2016-05-16, 11:11 PM
Then why not let them build a character from the foundation up?

Because people like different things.


To me, there's little difference between "here's your character, now have fun", and "here are the foundational attributes that make up what sort of character you can play, make something up that fits that, now have fun".

And yet people like different things


If a player ran a mage last campaign, and would rather run a fighter this time... where's the sense in saying "sorry, the dice gave you a high INT, guess you're playing another mage, or an ineffective fighter."

Of course, the idea of 'this is the only character you're playing in this campaign' didn't really exist in open table games, where random rolling came from. I'd agree with you that locking you into a single character for months or years is probably a bad use case for random rolling.

However, that's not the only way to play RPGs.

RazorChain
2016-05-16, 11:59 PM
I think you're missing my point. I'm not saying the play style is bad because you can never get close to a character. I'm not saying it's bad at all (though my personal preference runs in a different direction).
If you don't expect a given character to last, you don't invest with them from the beginning. Part of the game you describe is accepting a high risk. You only invest with them after they've survived their formative sessions, at which point you've come to terms with whatever stats they have.

I agree you can invest in a character even though there is a high risk. My group once had this "filler" campaign going on, it was used when not all of us could make it to a play session because of RL issues so the main campaing was put on break, also sometimes it's just nice to play something totally different.

So the filler campaign was based on modern black ops, where we were playing the best of the best, protecting humanity from things they didn't know about ranging from mad terrorists, aliens, vampires, evil cabals, zombie outbreaks and other horrible stuff that got swept under the carpet by "The company" which of course was run by the worlds goverments.

We came to the game knowing this was a high risk and lots of characters would die, but we also came with a action hero mindset where we took ridiculous risks. Lot's of characters died and their names got to the wall of lost heroes, after successful mission when someone died another name was added in a solemn ceremony where we commemorated our fallen comrade.

Through all of this my character survived and achieved a legendary status with my gaming group as he survived against all odds and even though his name is Sven Gustav, a Swedish ex 2nd foreign parachute regiment legionary (2Ťme R.E.P) today he is only known as the Super Swede.

Of course if you are going to play a high risk game then the premise must be understood from the start as you will have to plan for an optimal build rather than a roleplaying build.

veti
2016-05-16, 11:59 PM
Damage.

There are rules systems that divide "damage" into two or three separate types - short-term vs long-term, fatigue vs damage, numeric damage vs status effects. There are rules systems that allow you to fight down to 1 HP (or lower, in some cases) without impairment, and those that impose a death spiral as you take hits. Rules that list your impaired body parts in graphic detail and apply impossible-to-track penalties to arbitrary actions, vs rules that treat the entire body as a uniform mass. Rules that require you to take a plausible amount of time to heal, and those where healing is pretty much automatic as soon as the combat ends. Rules that increase HP as you go up levels, vs those that don't. Rules where you roll dice for damage, vs those where it's calculated from some (usually, insanely intricate) formula, and those where the roll to hit also determines damage.

Almost all of these options get better, the further they get away from D&D (in any direction, because D&D has just about the worst damage system that ever sucked). But I don't think I've ever seen one that, y'know, works.

goto124
2016-05-17, 03:13 AM
How I roleplay:

1) Make my decision as the player (e.g. I want to preserve my character, even when she would want to save that innocent child)
2) Refluff decision to make it look like my character did it (e.g. My character freaks out at the last second, failing to protect the child)

Is this bad?

lacco36
2016-05-17, 03:34 AM
How I roleplay:

1) Make my decision as the player (e.g. I want to preserve my character, even when she would want to save that innocent child)
2) Refluff decision to make it look like my character did it (e.g. My character freaks out at the last second, failing to protect the child)

Is this bad?

Let me answer by question: is it fun for you? Is it fun for the others?

If yes, then I see no issue with it.
However, based on your previous statements, I would assume this does not satisfy you. And it shows your previous negative experiences.
And again, this would be a conversation for different thread :smallwink:. I'll gladly discuss it with you, and if you feel like you want to try something else, gladly assist in any way possible. But it's not mandatory :smallsmile:. If you are having fun and the others too, it's fine.

Earthwalker
2016-05-17, 05:08 AM
Encumbrance and tracking of things like food, water, and ammunition are absolutely vital for any kind of adventure that is supposed to test the party's endurance, whether that's exploring the wilderness, getting the wagon train safely to California, or fleeing a relentless pursuer.

I am not sure that to achieve this you need to add on the book keeping that a lot of RPGs use. Needing to know how many arrows you have, how much food etcÖ
The One Ring manages to abstract this kind of thing to one track on journeys and ties everything in with the mechanics as you and your party try to avoid falling into weariness.


Rolling for stats forces players think creatively about their character as they try to decide how to best play the hand the RNG dealt them.

I am not sure how true this is.

Itís not like I canít get build points and be creative with my character.

Also using a DnDish example I arenít sure how creative I am being if I roll average, dex, int, wis and cha, great str and con and thinking I will be a fighter.
Forcing a player to be more ďcreativeĒ seems to stem from having bad stats not having random ones.

Jay R
2016-05-17, 07:28 AM
Also using a DnDish example I arenít sure how creative I am being if I roll average, dex, int, wis and cha, great str and con and thinking I will be a fighter.

If "a fighter" is all you build, then no, you're not being creative with it, and you probably are better off with a game in which you choose everything, and the focus is entirely about mechanics.

But if you're building Sven, the wanderer from the north, whose high constitution comes from enduring the long winters, but whose lack of high mental abilities is related to the boring and repetitive life in the fjords, who has traveled south to alleviate boredom, who doesn't use words to try to convince the king that orcs are raiding, but merely throws seven orc heads at his feet, whose first impression of another man is based almost entirely on strength, and takes a long time to learn to respect a mage, then you are being creative.

Note how much of that description was based on the stats you described.

In a game of original D&D, I rolled STR 4, DEX 16, CHA high, WIS low, and the rest low-to-average. I was considering dumping him, when the DM said, "That's a nine-year-old kid." So I went with it. He became David, a nine-year-old street kid who was a 1st level Thief. (There was more background than that, of course.)

He once took down a sentry by walking up sniffling and crying, and saying, "Where's my daddy? I can't find him. I'm cold, and I'm tired, and I'm hungry, and I'm thirsty, and I want my daddy!" As the sentry turned to get some food, the kid sneak attacked.

Even in 3.5e, the stat sheet with all the feats and skills and chosen stats is only about one half of my PC's character development.

ImNotTrevor
2016-05-17, 07:57 AM
If "a fighter" is all you build, then no, you're not being creative with it, and you probably are better off with a game in which you choose everything, and the focus is entirely about mechanics.

But if you're building Sven, the wanderer from the north, whose high constitution comes from enduring the long winters, but whose lack of high mental abilities is related to the boring and repetitive life in the fjords, who has traveled south to alleviate boredom, who doesn't use words to try to convince the king that orcs are raiding, but merely throws seven orc heads at his feet, whose first impression of another man is based almost entirely on strength, and takes a long time to learn to respect a mage, then you are being creative.

Note how much of that description was based on the stats you described.

In a game of original D&D, I rolled STR 4, DEX 16, CHA high, WIS low, and the rest low-to-average. I was considering dumping him, when the DM said, "That's a nine-year-old kid." So I went with it. He became David, a nine-year-old street kid who was a 1st level Thief. (There was more background than that, of course.)

He once took down a sentry by walking up sniffling and crying, and saying, "Where's my daddy? I can't find him. I'm cold, and I'm tired, and I'm hungry, and I'm thirsty, and I want my daddy!" As the sentry turned to get some food, the kid sneak attacked.

Even in 3.5e, the stat sheet with all the feats and skills and chosen stats is only about one half of my PC's character development.

That first one is still a Fighter, with fluff attached. Which is an entirely different matter than picking a class to play as or getting creative with the build. Saying you can fluff anything doesn't actually mean much when your mechanical options are limited. There is no difference between a Cleave by Generic Fighter 84 and a Cleave by Ragnar, Knight of Sovetska, whose sword was forged by his dying uncle from iron extracted from the blood of 1000 orcs. Both will do the same thing: hit another guy.

Complaining about a randomly imposed lack of build options is a perfectly valid complaint.


As an example that not all random rolling is done terribly:
Stars Without Number does a good job meshing random rolls and player agency. You roll stats randomly, but if your total modifiers add up to -1 or less, you can reroll. (So that nobody is trash. It is worth noting that there is no method to boost up your base attributes.) Once you pick a class, you have two Prime Attributes. You can instantly buff either to a 14 (a +1 modifier). You can also take points from stats higher than 13 and spend them into attributes below 8, but can neither lower a stat beyond 12 nor raise one above 10.

Randomly rolled, but you can nudge them about a little, giving the player increased agency for their character build. I find it very elegant and makes for a nice mix of interesting stat arrays and happy players.

Earthwalker
2016-05-17, 08:15 AM
If "a fighter" is all you build, then no, you're not being creative with it, and you probably are better off with a game in which you choose everything, and the focus is entirely about mechanics.
But if you're building Sven, the wanderer from the north, whose high constitution comes from enduring the long winters, but whose lack of high mental abilities is related to the boring and repetitive life in the fjords, who has traveled south to alleviate boredom, who doesn't use words to try to convince the king that orcs are raiding, but merely throws seven orc heads at his feet, whose first impression of another man is based almost entirely on strength, and takes a long time to learn to respect a mage, then you are being creative.
Note how much of that description was based on the stats you described.


It certainly is a creative description but there is nothing in the world stopping a player having the same creativity with stats that he has obtained with point buy. Itís not randomness that made the description itís just that you like rationalizing your stats, which can be done with points buy.



In a game of original D&D, I rolled STR 4, DEX 16, CHA high, WIS low, and the rest low-to-average. I was considering dumping him, when the DM said, "That's a nine-year-old kid." So I went with it. He became David, a nine-year-old street kid who was a 1st level Thief. (There was more background than that, of course.)
He once took down a sentry by walking up sniffling and crying, and saying, "Where's my daddy? I can't find him. I'm cold, and I'm tired, and I'm hungry, and I'm thirsty, and I want my daddy!" As the sentry turned to get some food, the kid sneak attacked.
Even in 3.5e, the stat sheet with all the feats and skills and chosen stats is only about one half of my PC's character development.

This was touching on my other point. Low stats seem to be the ones that force more creativity in the game. Again itís also true with point buy you could make the same character.
I am still not convinced that random rolls = creativity.
I can be creative with random rolls and I can do the same with point buy.

I have nothing against random generation I just donít believe that it is the best way to increase creativity, because sometimes it just doesnít.

Democratus
2016-05-17, 08:19 AM
It certainly is a creative description but there is nothing in the world stopping a player having the same creativity with stats that he has obtained with point buy. Itís not randomness that made the description itís just that you like rationalizing your stats, which can be done with points buy.

With points buy there is no need for rationalizing because you place the scores wherever you like. The concept drives the decision on what scores to buy for what stats.

With randomly rolled stats, the result of the die rolls drives the concept. You look at what you ended up with and then back-fill why the stats are what they are.

Not saying one is better than the other. But there is a difference.

Edit: There are also stat combinations that simply aren't possible with point buy or standard array.

PersonMan
2016-05-17, 08:37 AM
Some of the greatest characters i've ever played had average stats and spent most of their time talking or thinking their way out of situations.

...Which just runs into the issue of "Wait, so I need 18 Strength to get my +4 damage, but he can play the smart, quick-on-his-feet guy with only 11 Intelligence and 12 Charisma?"

goto124
2016-05-17, 08:45 AM
From what I gather, if someone is low on ideas and wants something to work with, random rolls can help. As can other tools such as random character generators.

Earthwalker
2016-05-17, 08:46 AM
With points buy there is no need for rationalizing because you place the scores wherever you like. The concept drives the decision on what scores to buy for what stats.
With randomly rolled stats, the result of the die rolls drives the concept. You look at what you ended up with and then back-fill why the stats are what they are.

Equally there is no need to rationalize with random stats. You can but certainly nothing requires you to.
If you want to rationalize your stats you can.
Neither system NEEDS it.



Not saying one is better than the other. But there is a difference.
.

They are certainly different. I think I am talking myself in circles. At the end of the day some people like point buy and some people like random generated.
I kind of feel the advantage of point buy is that everyone starts on the same footing stat wise. Weather this is an advantage for a system is a big debate.
I can see some logic in the thought ďwe want the PCs to have a balance between them so we are going to use point buy in our systemĒ.
I canít even see the counter in the random rolls set as the statement; we want different stat distribution for our players and so are using random generation. After all random generation might end up with players with the same stats.



Edit: There are also stat combinations that simply aren't possible with point buy or standard array.

Again this is true. Not sure if that is a pro or a con.

Cosi
2016-05-17, 08:51 AM
I don't buy random stats driving role playing. If I'm not interested in a detailed background for my Fighter, I'm not going to magically become interested in that because he is instead a Wizard as a result of 18 INT and 8 STR. I'm just going to make a Wizard just as bland as my Fighter would have been. If you want to get people to role play more as a result of character creation, give them a chance to pick up a character hook with some of their mechanical abilities. Maybe backgrounds give you extra class skills, which means the Wizard's player takes Street Rat so that he can get into Unseen Seer more easily. And that gives him some background elements to work with. Maybe he stole his first spellbook. Maybe he was trained as a Wizard after a wandering mage noticed his talents. Maybe something else. But it's a much better hook than "has a 12 in DEX".

Tanarii
2016-05-17, 08:53 AM
How I roleplay:

1) Make my decision as the player (e.g. I want to preserve my character, even when she would want to save that innocent child)
2) Refluff decision to make it look like my character did it (e.g. My character freaks out at the last second, failing to protect the child)

Is this bad?Its not bad. Let me make that clear, because my next statement is going to sound like calling it bad. Everyone defines roleplaying differently But personally, by my definition I made upthread for roleplaying, I'd call that meta-gaming instead of roleplaying. You're making decisions for your character that are explicitly out of character, instead of in character, then changing what happens in-game to justify them.

Like I said, my definition is considerably different even from the original players. By my definition, many things they did would be meta-gaming. That's how you know what you described isn't bad.

It sounds like a highly narrative way to play btw. I'm sure it makes for some great and memorable gameplay. Which is why I'm taking such pains to tell you even though I would consider it it the opposite of RP, that doesn't make it bad (or wrong). It sounds like it'd be really effective in the right kind of game, like a narrative story game.

Jormengand
2016-05-17, 09:05 AM
My problem with rolling stats is partly "Roll to shoot yourself in the foot before the game's even started in a way that will affect you forever!" and partly "Well, I guess I'm not going to play the character I actually wanted to play." Saying that rolling "Drives roleplay" is nonsense. It takes away from roleplay by forcing you to make a character that you might easily not be invested in, and that doesn't even perform in combat either. The number of times I've seen people roll stats, find that they're terrible, and leave a game they might have otherwise enjoyed is quite a high one.

hymer
2016-05-17, 09:15 AM
I'm willing to admit to outright jealousy. When I roll poorly, and another player rolls well, it annoys me. I've seen it happen once, although the player rather exacerbated it by playing his super-powered character in a selfish and cowardly way, leaving the scrubs to take all the beatings.

Democratus
2016-05-17, 09:23 AM
My problem with rolling stats is partly "Roll to shoot yourself in the foot before the game's even started in a way that will affect you forever!" and partly "Well, I guess I'm not going to play the character I actually wanted to play."

1) A character who is "shot in the foot" can be very fun to play.

Overcoming personal deficits is a key element in storytelling (c.f. Raistlin's health, Tony Stark's alcoholism, Professor X's paralysis, etc.).

2) Typically, rolling stats comes before you decide on a character. But I have had a great time playing a fighter with an 8 starting strength or a clumsy rogue or faithless cleric.

3) "Affect you forever"? Are characters immune to death? Are players expected to just roll up one character ever for their entire gaming career?

Different people have fun from different things. Limitations spur creativity exactly because you must find ways to overcome them.


Saying that rolling "Drives roleplay" is nonsense. It takes away from roleplay by forcing you to make a character that you might easily not be invested in, and that doesn't even perform in combat either. The number of times I've seen people roll stats, find that they're terrible, and leave a game they might have otherwise enjoyed is quite a high one.

This is a claim of badwrongfun. Rolling has been driving roleplay since the 1970s.

It's a choice to get invested in a character or not. If you can't invest in a character because it doesn't have perfect stats, that's on you not the system.

Earthwalker
2016-05-17, 09:28 AM
1) A character who is "shot in the foot" can be very fun to play.

Overcoming personal deficits is a key element in storytelling (c.f. Raistlin's health, Tony Stark's alcoholism, Professor X's paralysis, etc.).

2) Typically, rolling stats comes before you decide on a character. But I have had a great time playing a fighter with an 8 starting strength or a clumsy rogue or faithless cleric.

3) "Affect you forever"? Are characters immune to death? Are players expected to just roll up one character ever for their entire gaming career?

Different people have fun from different things. Limitations spur creativity exactly because you must find ways to overcome them.


This is a claim of badwrongfun. Rolling has been driving roleplay since the 1970s.

It's a choice to get invested in a character or not. If you can't invest in a character because it doesn't have perfect stats, that's on you not the system.

Again this is the fact that low scores are driving the creativity. The limitations. Its not that the limits were random its the fact you have limits.

It is possible to have limits even with point buy.

Its possible to have limits on character without rolling a single die, so why is rolling the die so important ?

Cosi
2016-05-17, 09:33 AM
I'm willing to admit to outright jealousy. When I roll poorly, and another player rolls well, it annoys me. I've seen it happen once, although the player rather exacerbated it by playing his super-powered character in a selfish and cowardly way, leaving the scrubs to take all the beatings.

As I understand it, that's because you're playing it wrong. In older versions of D&D, the idea was that you would roll a bunch of different characters, and the weaker ones would die off until the entire party had godly stats and sweet magic items.


Overcoming personal deficits is a key element in storytelling (c.f. Raistlin's health, Tony Stark's alcoholism, Professor X's paralysis, etc.).

But that's not what having low stats means. The Wizard with 8 INT is not going to overcome his personal flaws to reach his true potential. He is going to fail, because he does not have any potential.


It's a choice to get invested in a character or not. If you can't invest in a character because it doesn't have perfect stats, that's on you not the system.

I can't invest in a character because he is not the character I want to play. I don't want to play a Fighter with 18 STR, 18 CON, and 8 INT. I want to play a Wizard with the reverse of those stats. The point of the game is to have fun, and rolling for stats makes you have less fun.

lacco36
2016-05-17, 09:40 AM
you're playing it wrong.

Haven't heard that for a while :smallbiggrin:.

Still, the debate is pointless - those who like rolling for stats will roll, those who don't will not.

And yes, I've been in situation where I didn't know what I would like to play and I rolled just to know what it will be.

And yes, I've been in situation where I knew exactly what I wanted to play, discussed it with the GM and found a solution.

What I can't understand is - if I tell specifically that the game is low-magic to no-magic, why at least 4 players ask me if they can play archmages? :smallbiggrin:

EDIT: @2D8HP: the question goto124 asked was about spiritual attributes in RoS and overall advancement. Though the story is fun to read even twice :smallbiggrin:

grimsly
2016-05-17, 09:40 AM
I'm struck, as I read this thread, by a seeming disparity in popular (on the internet) opinion. On the one hand, we praise the'improvising GM', who goes into a session with a 3 x 5 card and razor sharp wit, ready to follow the players wherever they lead, while on the other we want players to spend days carefully preparing a detailed background/ perfect stat progression so they can play properly. I guess what I'm saying is, the internet is a silly place.

I don't mind random stats because I'm an improviser anyway, and I prefer to make characters on the fly based on interactions with the group. But I hardly ever play with random stats, because it's not important enough to me to find a full group of people willing to do it.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-17, 09:44 AM
I'm struck, as I read this thread, by a seeming disparity in popular (on the internet) opinion. On the one hand, we praise the'improvising GM', who goes into a session with a 3 x 5 card and razor sharp wit, ready to follow the players wherever they lead, while on the other we want players to spend days carefully preparing a detailed background/ perfect stat progression so they can play properly. I guess what I'm saying is, the internet is a silly place.


That "perfect progression" thing is part of what drove me away from the general D&D system (and frankly, community) over the years. "Optimal multi-classing" and "which Feats to take in which order so that they chain together into an unstoppable combination" and "you're doing it wrong" just got to the point where I couldn't take it.

As for setting and NPCs and history and politics and technology and all of it... I'm from the school of "build the damn world", and find it transparently obvious when a GM is making crap up on the fly and winging it. It almost always leads to a piecemeal world, a crazy-quilt of mismatched bits that sounded cool at the time but don't make sense, like pieces from 13 different puzzles all jumbled together.

lacco36
2016-05-17, 09:44 AM
I'm struck, as I read this thread, by a seeming disparity in popular (on the internet) opinion. On the one hand, we praise the'improvising GM', who goes into a session with a 3 x 5 card and razor sharp wit, ready to follow the players wherever they lead, while on the other we want players to spend days carefully preparing a detailed background/ perfect stat progression so they can play properly. I guess what I'm saying is, the internet is a silly place.

I don't mind random stats because I'm an improviser anyway, and I prefer to make characters on the fly based on interactions with the group. But I hardly ever play with random stats, because it's not important enough to me to find a full group of people willing to do it.

Good observation. And also - that's second thing that I was surprised about when I approached this forum for first time as GM - there were people who came into the game with complete 4-6 pages of background, when I didn't even state what world we are playing in :smallbiggrin:.

Yes, internet is strange place.

Oh, let's get few people together for a pick-up game of random-roll-stats hexcrawling! :smallbiggrin:

goto124
2016-05-17, 09:45 AM
On the one hand, we praise the'improvising GM', who goes into a session with a 3 x 5 card and razor sharp wit, ready to follow the players wherever they lead, while on the other we want players to spend days carefully preparing a detailed background/ perfect stat progression so they can play properly. I guess what I'm saying is, the internet is a silly place.

Do we expect players to have detailed backgrounds and perfect stat progression? Can't speak for detailed backgrounds, but I figured perfect stat progression is 1) not expected of the players, but something the players themselves want, 2) not that hard with the internet :smalltongue:

2D8HP
2016-05-17, 09:50 AM
Because the people who enjoy rolling stats to base a character on, actually do enjoy rolling stats to base a character on, of course.

How many characters am I supposed to kill with this system?
IIRC-
To illustrate how this played out, the scene:
A dank almost crypt like basement/garage during the waning years of the Carter Administration, two pre-teens and some teenagers surround a ping pong table, that has books, papers, dice, pizza and sodas on it
Teen DM (my best friends older brother): You turn the corner, and 20' away you see the door shown on the map.
Teen player (who thinks he's all that because he's been playing longer than me with the LBB's, but does he have the new PHB and DMG? No! So who's really the "Advanced" one huh!): With the lantern still tied to the ten foot pole, I slowly proceed forward observing if they are any drafts from unexpected places. You (looks at me) check the floor with the other pole.
Me (pre-teen): Oh man it's late, are we even getting into the treasure room today!
Teen player: You've got to check for traps!
Me: I run up and force the door open!
DM: Blarg the fighter falls through the floor onto the spikes below.
*rolls dice*
Your character is dead.
Teen player: Dude you got smoked!
Me: Look at my next character. I rolled a 15 for Strength.
DM: Really?
Me: Yeah, Derek totally witnessed me rolling it up!
DM: Did he?
Derek (my best friend, another pre-teen who invited me to the game): Are you gonna eat that slice of pizza?
Me: No.
Derek: Yeah I totally saw it.
*munch*
Me: See!
DM: *groan*:smallwink:

Old school quote
There are Old Characters and there are Bold characters, but there are very few Old and Bold characters.


If the player had fun throwing away a PC's life, then it wasn't done cheaply.
In memory of my best friend, Derek Lindstrom Whaley, who in 6th grade saw me reading the blue book and invited me to play D&D at his house - R.I.P.

Tanarii
2016-05-17, 09:55 AM
On rolling stats ... when I play point buy or a standard array, I roll my class, and often race, instead. In d&d 5e, my background too. Then I make something of it. If I really need some random attributes so I don't get a cookie cutter of that class, I'll dice among my secondary or tertiary scores for whihc get dumped.

So I might end up with a (random example diced right now): Tiefling Outlander Cleric. IMO that's weird enough I don't need to dice for where to put which ability after Wis. :smallwink:

I actually like that better than the classic roll in order stat method for seeing what class you will be. The only thing it lacks is the occasional really low score. But remember, even Raistlin had a Con 10. (Ref: DL1 Dragons of Despair)

Jay R
2016-05-17, 10:04 AM
All the people who are saying that random rolls mean you can't have the exact character you want to design are correct.

All the people saying that rolling stats creates sub-optimal characters with unwanted weaknesses are correct.

All the people who say that die rolling sometimes gives you a character weaker than others in the party are correct.

All the people saying that it's often a bigger challenge are correct.

Yes, it's harder. Yes, characters are more likely to die, unless played very, very well.

You are all correct. And these are all the reasons that I enjoy it.

If you don't enjoy playing weaknesses you didn't choose, sometimes having a weaker character, and facing more difficult challenges, I urge you to play point-buy. That's fun too, and I don't speak against it.

But I like the other kind of fun as well. And that's fine too.

Takewo
2016-05-17, 10:18 AM
I am not sure that to achieve this you need to add on the book keeping that a lot of RPGs use. Needing to know how many arrows you have, how much food etcÖ
The One Ring manages to abstract this kind of thing to one track on journeys and ties everything in with the mechanics as you and your party try to avoid falling into weariness.

Could elaborate a bit more on how it works? It sounds interesting.

Democratus
2016-05-17, 10:19 AM
As I understand it, that's because you're playing it wrong. In older versions of D&D, the idea was that you would roll a bunch of different characters, and the weaker ones would die off until the entire party had godly stats and sweet magic items.

Playing it wrong? Wow. A shame Gygax isn't around so you can tell him how wrong he got D&D. :smalleek:

Your understanding of old school D&D is incomplete. It was certainly high mortality at times. But it wasn't a "good stats bubble to the top" situation. It was "characters with smart players and luck bubble to the top".

Sure, it could be a bit helpful to have a +1 damage from a 16 Strength; but that seldom determined your fate. Instead you had to play smart. Did you use a 10' pole to probe the dark hallway? Did you find a back entrance to the lair so you could bypass the guards? Did you leave the dungeon before your resources got too low? Are your hirelings well fed and happy? Did you do enough research on your quest while visiting the Great Library?

By the time your stats came into play most of the work was already done - or you were probably going to die regardless.


But that's not what having low stats means. The Wizard with 8 INT is not going to overcome his personal flaws to reach his true potential. He is going to fail, because he does not have any potential.

This is incorrect. I've played an INT 8 wizard and had a blast. Even retired with a tower and a pile of treasure.


I can't invest in a character because he is not the character I want to play. I don't want to play a Fighter with 18 STR, 18 CON, and 8 INT. I want to play a Wizard with the reverse of those stats. The point of the game is to have fun, and rolling for stats makes you have less fun.

Rolling for stats does not make me have less fun. I'm a different person from you and I enjoy different things.

Earthwalker
2016-05-17, 10:21 AM
Haven't heard that for a while :smallbiggrin:.
Still, the debate is pointless - those who like rolling for stats will roll, those who don't will not.
[snip]


The debate on if people do enjoy random rolls is as you say pointless. Thatís not the debate I am having (or at least trying to). The debate I am having is trying to find an answer to.
What are the design goals of putting random stat generation into a game.
The OP mentioned games system need to do these things well, one of them was random rolls. What is the goal for random rolls so we can see if the system matches this goal well.


All the people who are saying that random rolls mean you can't have the exact character you want to design are correct.
All the people saying that rolling stats creates sub-optimal characters with unwanted weaknesses are correct.
All the people who say that die rolling sometimes gives you a character weaker than others in the party are correct.
All the people saying that it's often a bigger challenge are correct.
Yes, it's harder. Yes, characters are more likely to die, unless played very, very well.
You are all correct. And these are all the reasons that I enjoy it.
If you don't enjoy playing weaknesses you didn't choose, sometimes having a weaker character, and facing more difficult challenges, I urge you to play point-buy. That's fun too, and I don't speak against it.
But I like the other kind of fun as well. And that's fine too.

If the goal is to make your character weaker doesnít random rolling fail that goal. You might roll really good stats and as such be strong than the rest of the group.
You could do the same by having two lists of point buy 20 points and 10 points choose which you want to use.

hymer
2016-05-17, 10:26 AM
What are the design goals of putting random stat generation into a game.

Since many people enjoy rolling for stats, the design goal may be as simple as to give these people what they want in their RPG system. But there could be other reasons as well, I expect.

Cosi
2016-05-17, 10:30 AM
Two musings on this subject:

First, it's interesting to me that (IIRC) a lot of the people arguing in favor of random stats as a way to constrain creativity have also argued that 3e is a bad game because you get punished for not playing a caster/casters are broken/whatever. Is that also a restriction, and thus also good?

Second, if you want to play a character with suboptimal stats, you can do that in point buy. Any set of stats you roll can also be created by point buy (with appropriate starting stats and point values), and any set of stats you bought could have also been created by rolling. If you really want your 8 INT Wizard or your 18 DEX Cleric, you can do that in point buy to (essentially) the same degree as you can with rolled stats. So what exactly is the advantage here?


Your understanding of old school D&D is incomplete. It was certainly high mortality at times. But it wasn't a "good stats bubble to the top" situation. It was "characters with smart players and luck bubble to the top".

So would you describe getting a favorable outcome from the die rolls determining your stats as:

a) Luck
b) Not Luck

I await your answer eagerly.


This is incorrect. I've played an INT 8 wizard and had a blast. Even retired with a tower and a pile of treasure.

Rolling for stats does not make me have less fun. I'm a different person from you and I enjoy different things.

This is basically just abandoning the argument. Yes, you have personal experiences. I also have personal experiences. But the plural of anecdote isn't data, and those personal experiences mean precisely nothing in terms of what is or is not good for the game. The point of the game is to have fun. People (in general) have fun by playing characters they want. Rolling for stats (in general) makes it less likely a given player will be able to play the character he wants. As a result, rolling for stats makes the game (in general) less fun.

Earthwalker
2016-05-17, 10:31 AM
Since many people enjoy rolling for stats, the design goal may be as simple as to give these people what they want in their RPG system. But there could be other reasons as well, I expect.

You don't see the value of the question. Why do you enjoy rolling ? Is there a better way to get that enjoyment ?

Take of example the idea that rolling is good as it gets me thinking what my character will be and gives me ideas of what I want to play from what stats I get. That's good if people have problems trying to work out what they want to play. The random rolls provide ideas.

A counter argument is why does that random factor have to be stats. Why not other ideas like backgrounds, races, unique abilities. Stuff that you can sell books of :)

Eisirt
2016-05-17, 10:35 AM
I have a bunch of lists with option that I can roll on...

When I create a character I can roll for stats, class, hair colour, favorite food, etc...

While playing I can roll for every action I might take.... and it is great, I never have to make a plan or even think about what I am going to do next.

I wouldn't want it any other way, because that is what roleplaying is all about... rolling those dice.

or

Am I confused and was that rollplaying?? :smallwink:

hymer
2016-05-17, 10:36 AM
@Earthwalker: I better let the people who enjoy rolling answer that.

Cosi
2016-05-17, 10:39 AM
Am I confused and was that rollplaying?? :smallwink:

No, "rollplaying" is "anything gamers do I don't like" and "roleplaying" is "anything gamers do I like".

Earthwalker
2016-05-17, 10:43 AM
@Earthwalker: I better let the people who enjoy rolling answer that.

LOL the problem being is I have in the past enjoyed the rolling. I really couldn't tell you why. I am very unhelpful it seems.


I think one of the better random generation of character systems I have played is Squadron UK.

Each character gets 10 points to spend on powers. For each point you can either roll on a table for a power, choose a specific background or upgrade a power you have.
After all points are spent you have probably about 6 powers a background (or two).
Then you as a player need to rationalize where the powers came from.
It felt to me the design goal was to keep everyone reasonably similar on power level (giving everyone the same number of power rolls) and trying to encourage the players to be creative. The system forced you to rationalize where your powers came from. Any power you couldnít explain was dropped.
The system has flaws but I could see what it was trying to do.

With say Runequest stat rolling or DnD stat rolling I am really unsure what its goal is.

wumpus
2016-05-17, 10:57 AM
In a game of original D&D, I rolled STR 4, DEX 16, CHA high, WIS low, and the rest low-to-average. I was considering dumping him, when the DM said, "That's a nine-year-old kid." So I went with it. He became David, a nine-year-old street kid who was a 1st level Thief. (There was more background than that, of course.)

Might be allowed in 0e and BECMI, but AD&D 1e had "you must be this class if your attribute is <=6". I think it was magic user for strength and illusionist for constitution, but that could easily be backwards (my Players Handbook isn't handy). Needless to say, there are reasons almost nobody played by *all* the rules (I only remember these after writing up a character generation program that checked them all).



(An INT 8 wizard will fail)
This is incorrect. I've played an INT 8 wizard and had a blast. Even retired with a tower and a pile of treasure.

(Were you consiously copying Massa, the mechanical wonder? Note that she wasn't stupid. She just didn't know any "real" magic when first seen.)
This is fairly impressive. In truth, in many D&D systems a low level wizard (non-batman, who doesn't spend all his time using divination magic to properly prepare) has nearly zero power from his spells and more likely relies on items. I think some of the older rules (with "tower specific rules") expected a magic user to be around 9th level before building a tower, a level where memorized spells certainly matter.

I also remember a player in Dungeons and Dragons Online top-level guild playing a character called "spell-less". He was a cleric who used up his mana/blue bar (DDO doesn't replenish it without resting in an attempt to copy D&D). It was rather odd playing with him.

Democratus
2016-05-17, 11:08 AM
Two musings on this subject:

First, it's interesting to me that (IIRC) a lot of the people arguing in favor of random stats as a way to constrain creativity have also argued that 3e is a bad game because you get punished for not playing a caster/casters are broken/whatever. Is that also a restriction, and thus also good?

"A lot of the people?" I certainly didn't make any such argument and I can't speak for this "lot" you are referencing.

I have had good games in white box, BECM, AD&D, 2nd, 3rd, Pathfinder, 4th, and 5th. There's room for great games and fun in all of them. None are "broken". If you choose to play D&D, pick the edition that works for you and have fun. Different people will, obviously, have different preferences.


Second, if you want to play a character with suboptimal stats, you can do that in point buy. Any set of stats you roll can also be created by point buy (with appropriate starting stats and point values), and any set of stats you bought could have also been created by rolling.

While this is untrue, it is also irrelevant. Using stat rolling as a catalyst for creativity in no way precludes using creativity as a driver for buying stats. Both have their place.

You are the one here who has actually claimed the people are playing the game wrong.



This is basically just abandoning the argument. Yes, you have personal experiences. I also have personal experiences. But the plural of anecdote isn't data,

As a scientist I can conclusively tell you that you are incorrect. Data is made of data points. Data points are anecdotes.

This is also an example of you making a blanket claim. I only needed one exception to prove that it is not true - which I did.

I notice that you went back and edited your post with "(in general)" after my provided example. Glad you conceded my point.


and those personal experiences mean precisely nothing in terms of what is or is not good for the game. The point of the game is to have fun.

These are contradictory. Personal experiences are the only judge of what is good for the game - as fun can only exist as an experience.

Really, this was all over when you told people that they were playing wrong. It's the game equivalent of Godwin's Law. Invoking "badwrongfun" is an invalidation of your arguments.

Cosi
2016-05-17, 11:24 AM
LOL the problem being is I have in the past enjoyed the rolling. I really couldn't tell you why. I am very unhelpful it seems.

I suspect it is more accurate to say that you have in the past enjoyed playing games where stats are rolled, and you (as well as humans in general) are bad at breaking down which parts of a game are things they have fun because of and which are things they have fun in spite of. Plenty of people have fun with AD&D despite the fact that THAC0 is bad. Plenty of people have fun with 3e despite the fact that WBL is bad. Plenty of people have fun with 4e despite the fact that skill challenges are bad. Plenty of people have fun with 5e despite the fact that bounded accuracy is bad. And so on for every game (for example, Shadowrun's Matrix rules are bad). And while the fun those people had was real, those rules are, in point of fact, bad.


"A lot of the people?" I certainly didn't make any such argument and I can't speak for this "lot" you are referencing.

I'm fairly sure at least Jay has made that argument. I don't track usernames, but it's mostly a hypothesis based on the fact that most people who like random stats are A&D fans, and most AD&D fans describe 3e as bad for making casters too good compared to other characters.


You are the one here who has actually claimed the people are playing the game wrong.

I said that random stats were intended to be used in a context where people winnowed out bad characters. A point you seem to have ignored.


As a scientist I can conclusively tell you that you are incorrect. Data is made of data points. Data points are anecdotes.

There's a difference between "here are a million data points, clearly X causes Y" and "I had fun doing this thing once (in a game with hundreds of other things), clearly this thing is awesome". The point of the aphorism is to indicate that difference. Similarly, I'm totally willing to believe that specific games have anomalous results. That doesn't change the underlying reality that players have more fun playing characters they want to play.


I notice that you went back and edited your post with "(in general)" after my provided example. Glad you conceded my point.

Stop lying. The post where I use the phrase "in general" has not been edited.


These are contradictory. Personal experiences are the only judge of what is good for the game - as fun can only exist as an experience.

You can also use data for what people find fun (for example: playing characters they like) and design the game to facilitate that (for example: by not rolling for stats).

Democratus
2016-05-17, 11:56 AM
(Were you consiously copying Massa, the mechanical wonder? Note that she wasn't stupid. She just didn't know any "real" magic when first seen.)
This is fairly impressive. In truth, in many D&D systems a low level wizard (non-batman, who doesn't spend all his time using divination magic to properly prepare) has nearly zero power from his spells and more likely relies on items. I think some of the older rules (with "tower specific rules") expected a magic user to be around 9th level before building a tower, a level where memorized spells certainly matter.

Thanks! Mostly it was just being hyper-careful when adventuring. I leaned much more on planning and, of course, spells that didn't rely on a high Int. I had a good Charisma so the henchman/hireling situation was pretty good. Never fight when you can talk or sneak. If you have to fight make sure it isn't a fair fight. Keep your goal in mind and pursue that with prejudice.


I also remember a player in Dungeons and Dragons Online top-level guild playing a character called "spell-less". He was a cleric who used up his mana/blue bar (DDO doesn't replenish it without resting in an attempt to copy D&D). It was rather odd playing with him.

I'll bet! Was he essentially a fighter covered in holy symbols?

Democratus
2016-05-17, 11:58 AM
Stop lying. The post where I use the phrase "in general" has not been edited.

"Last edited by Cosi; Today at 02:34 PM."

I can see you are done being civil. So I'll bid you a good day.

Jormengand
2016-05-17, 12:09 PM
Thanks! Mostly it was just being hyper-careful when adventuring. I leaned much more on planning and, of course, spells that didn't rely on a high Int. I had a good Charisma so the henchman/hireling situation was pretty good. Never fight when you can talk or sneak. If you have to fight make sure it isn't a fair fight. Keep your goal in mind and pursue that with prejudice.

See, in 3.5 you can't do the "Spells that don't rely on INT" trick; with 9 int or below you can't even cast cantrips. I think that's what Cosi was getting at.

Cosi
2016-05-17, 12:14 PM
"Last edited by Cosi; Today at 02:34 PM."

I can see you are done being civil. So I'll bid you a good day.

Here are the posts I've made in this thread:

First Post. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20788491&postcount=128) Unedited. No instance of the phrase "in general".
Second Post. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20788648&postcount=134) Edited (IIRC, I used "investigate" rather than "invest"). No instance of the phrase "in general".
Third Post. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20788871&postcount=147) Unedited. Three instances of the phrase "in general".
Fourth Post. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20788908&postcount=151) Edited (IIRC, I added a comma after "No"). No instance of the phrase "in general".
Fifth Post. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20789059&postcount=155). Unedited. Three instances of the phrase in general. One of them is quoting you.

Also this post, which contains several instances of "in general" and has not been edited.

Of my edited posts, none use the phrase "in general". Of my posts that use the phrase "in general", none have been edited. If there's some way to do so, I invite any interested parties to go and check the history of those posts. But it should be obvious that you are, in point of fact, lying.

2D8HP
2016-05-17, 12:14 PM
I have a bunch of lists with option that I can roll on...

When I create a character I can roll for stats, class, hair colour, favorite food, etc...

While playing I can roll for every action I might take.... and it is great, I never have to make a plan or even think about what I am going to do next.

I wouldn't want it any other way, because that is what roleplaying is all about... rolling those dice.

or

Am I confused and was that rollplaying?? :smallwink:
Rolling the dice in suspense is/was fun!
When role-playing is less fun than "rollplaying" I will gladly "rollplay".
Fun fact (standard warning when ponderous pedantic pontificating is imminent), Gygax did not call it "role-playing" at first. It was:
"Dungeons and Dragons
Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames .
Flying Buffalo Inc, first came up with the tem "role-playing game" in a Tunnels and Trolls book which referenced D&D as "other fantasy role playing games".

Playing it wrong? Wow. A shame Gygax isn't around so you can tell him how wrong he got D&D. :smalleek:Gygax did get it wrong! He only wrote the rules.
Arneson invented the game.:smallwink:

Democratus
2016-05-17, 12:17 PM
Gygax did get it wrong! He only wrote the rules.
Arneson invented the game.:smallwink:

Fair enough! :smallbiggrin:

Sadly, I never got to play a game with Arneson.

2D8HP
2016-05-17, 12:22 PM
Fair enough! :smallbiggrin:

Sadly, I never got to play a game with Arneson.
Every time you pick up the dice, you play with Arneson:smallsmile:

nedz
2016-05-17, 12:39 PM
From what I gather, if someone is low on ideas and wants something to work with, random rolls can help. As can other tools such as random character generators.

You could take an array and randomly decide where to place the stats. It's a bit harder with point buy, but there are probably methods.

Democratus
2016-05-17, 12:57 PM
If there's one thing we are seeing here is that there are many "tabletops" and so many ways to "get right".

What works in one group doesn't for another.

Some of this is due to how we were brought in to the hobby. D&D is still largely a game that is passed down via the "older cousin" sales model [per Mike Noonan]. Someone brings us into the hobby and that is where we begin to form our initial biases. If you have a lot of fun when you start playing a particular version of the game, then you tend to like the features of that edition.

I've been playing the game nearly as long as it has existed. But AD&D was the edition that really hooked me. So I have a predilection for some of the conceits of that game (rolling for stats, hexcrawling, reaction rolls for NPCs, high mortality, etc.).

I have very good friends who first cut their teeth on 4th Edition D&D. And they love the aspects of the game that reflect it (narrative focus, large choice of classes, expanding options with levels, strong tactical rules, etc.).

Between all these different games that all mean "D&D" to someone - there is a lot of good stuff along with a few rough edges.

So what I'm curious to see here are the things that have never quite worked in D&D. Where is the game, in it's most universal sense, still failing at the table?

And is is possible to address these weaknesses in order to bring us ever closer to that elusive "perfect game system"?

lacco36
2016-05-17, 01:16 PM
The debate on if people do enjoy random rolls is as you say pointless. Thatís not the debate I am having (or at least trying to). The debate I am having is trying to find an answer to.
What are the design goals of putting random stat generation into a game.
The OP mentioned games system need to do these things well, one of them was random rolls. What is the goal for random rolls so we can see if the system matches this goal well.

Ah, yes, this debate is not pointless. The one that preceded it (this-is-fun/good-this-is-not-fun/good) was :smallsmile:. And I'll gladly debate this.

So, if we assume it was really for a purpose and not just the "fad" or first good idea, it should serve a purpose. If we take the three basic possibilities that I know of - point-build, priority-build and random-roll - each gives me a limit, but the limit of point-build is usually the least constricting and allows the widest possibility to adjust and customize the character. It allows me to work on every aspect of the character as I see fit, choosing all the stuff I want - and I'm limited only by the point sum.
The priority build allows me to choose between several possibilities - weakening one part of the character while strengthening another one.
Random roll gives me a character, which I can then work on - I get the bare bones and I can only work with what the character was "born with". Just like life.

So, what do these three options tell me about the game? The first one - point build - prepares me for mostly sandbox-oriented game. I get lots of options, so I can be exactly what I want, what I dream of. However, the priority build sets me up for a game, where I have to make tough choices - where everything I choose will have some consequences.
The random rolling sets me up for a game, where my character is not someone special from the beginning - but I can make him special. And yes, it will be a challenge.

My feelings:
- point-buy is best suited for power-fantasy style of play, or sandboxes. Play-what-you-want.
- priority-build is best suited for tough-choice style of play, narrative focused. Play-what-you-dare.
- random-roll is best suited for challenging play. This-is-what-you-play...now go, and make us proud :smallbiggrin:.

However, this is mainly my feelings and I have only small repertoire of games I played (actually... 3 of them), as I usually just GM.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-17, 01:21 PM
While I had a lot of fun when I first came into the hobby, and that was with AD&D (first edition), I've always had issues with systems of the D&D family that come down to the basics of Levels and Classes and the assumptions of the magic system(s) and so on.

4th edition combined those issues with a fairly transparent attempt to emulate the feel of the MMORPGs that (seemed to have?) sucked customers away from the tabletop market.


I'm still searching, in vain so far, for a system that does fantasy-genre games well.

Knaight
2016-05-17, 01:27 PM
While I had a lot of fun when I first came into the hobby, and that was with AD&D (first edition), I've always had issues with systems of the D&D family that come down to the basics of Levels and Classes and the assumptions of the magic system(s) and so on.

4th edition combined those issues with a fairly transparent attempt to emulate the feel of the MMORPGs that (seemed to have?) sucked customers away from the tabletop market.

I'm still searching, in vain so far, for a system that does fantasy-genre games well.

So you want a fantasy system that doesn't use levels and classes and has very different assumptions about the magic system. That's a really easy set of criteria, which includes a huge number of fantasy games. Make a thread for it, and the suggestions will start pouring in. Absent the thread, I'll just toss REIGN your way, as one of many viable choices.

Ceiling_Squid
2016-05-17, 01:38 PM
To keep it simple, random rolling gives me something to work with right NOW, come what may. It throws me a set of stats and says "work with those". I enjoy it for the same reason I also enjoy rolling backgrounds in systems that feature "lifepath" style character generation. It often presents me with unusual choices I wouldn't normally have thought of.

Point buy leaves me agonizing over builds and optimization, since I am given direct control over the results. This is great for game balance and freedom-of-concept, but sometimes I just want to be given a character concept to improvise with on the spot. I no longer write massive backstories, I instead write blurbs.

Paradoxically, I find randomization a lot more freeing lately. I'm not stuck trying to navigate "choice-paralysis" (a very real psychological phenomenon), especially in a system as bloated and choice-heavy as D&D.

This is entirely personal preference, but hopefully that explains some of the appeal behind rolling.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-17, 01:46 PM
So you want a fantasy system that doesn't use levels and classes and has very different assumptions about the magic system. That's a really easy set of criteria, which includes a huge number of fantasy games. Make a thread for it, and the suggestions will start pouring in. Absent the thread, I'll just toss REIGN your way, as one of many viable choices.

I did make a thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?486741-Looking-For-a-System-for-a-Fantasy-Mid-magic-campaign) -- and received quite a few suggestions, which I'm still sorting through. There were other requirements as well.

grimsly
2016-05-17, 02:23 PM
The point of the game is to have fun. People (in general) have fun by playing characters they want. Rolling for stats (in general) makes it less likely a given player will be able to play the character he wants. As a result, rolling for stats makes the game (in general) less fun.

You know, I haven't done a poll, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this is less generally applicable than you think.

For me the allure of rolled stats is in the discovery. I enjoy discovering my character at the table, building a back story as we go over the first few sessions, trying out things as they occur, then thinking about what that action says about my character and acting accordingly afterward. Rolled stats provide some of that same sort of engagement for me.

Now again, I haven't run a poll, and maybe you're right to say the general role-playing public prefer preplanned characters. But if I may wax philosophical, is not this genre of storytelling one of discovery? Is it not the thrill of seeing what our groups can invent together, finding out what's around the corner, shouting in triumph at the fall of the dice, beating the odds with careful planning and a little luck, and having a story no one else has ever read before as your ultimate reward? You ( speaking to the strawman antagonist in my head) can keep your clinically planned, factory produced, balanced hero, whose life story is already so dense that there is no room for growth, but as for me, give me the simple farm hand who has nothing but a sword and a dream, we'll figure out the rest as we go!

But in all seriousness, unless everyone is onboard with it, don't make them roll for stats. Friendships have been lost over less.


I have a bunch of lists with option that I can roll on...

When I create a character I can roll for stats, class, hair colour, favorite food, etc...

While playing I can roll for every action I might take.... and it is great, I never have to make a plan or even think about what I am going to do next.

I wouldn't want it any other way, because that is what roleplaying is all about... rolling those dice.

or

Am I confused and was that rollplaying?? :smallwink:

Malfunctioning Robots: the RPG: Do you enjoy Shoots and Ladders? Does Monopoly seem a little too involved? Have we got a game for you!

Cosi
2016-05-17, 02:51 PM
You know, I haven't done a poll, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this is less generally applicable than you think.

You can absolutely make a case for more randomness. For example, random magic items (with balance calibrated without items) is a better paradigm than WBL. But I stats aren't a good place for it. Your spearman can still be a spearman with a +1 Flaming Spear or a +3 Frost Spear or a Thunderspear or a non-magical Spear. But your Wizard (mostly, there are exceptions to various degrees in various editions) can't be a Wizard with an INT of 3.

The game should preserve replay value as much as possible without hurting the experience of any given game.

Knaight
2016-05-17, 03:17 PM
You can absolutely make a case for more randomness. For example, random magic items (with balance calibrated without items) is a better paradigm than WBL. But I stats aren't a good place for it. Your spearman can still be a spearman with a +1 Flaming Spear or a +3 Frost Spear or a Thunderspear or a non-magical Spear. But your Wizard (mostly, there are exceptions to various degrees in various editions) can't be a Wizard with an INT of 3.

The game should preserve replay value as much as possible without hurting the experience of any given game.

This isn't a videogame that needs a random item generator to preserve replay value because the actual content of the game has to be made all at once then distributed. If the GM is playing around with different campaigns having different themes, and the players are making characters which are highly varied in a character sense, and so on and so forth there's plenty of replay value without even introducing all that much mechanical variety, let alone randomness.

Tanarii
2016-05-17, 04:21 PM
Plenty of people have fun with AD&D despite the fact that THAC0 is bad. Plenty of people have fun with 3e despite the fact that WBL is bad. Plenty of people have fun with 4e despite the fact that skill challenges are bad. Plenty of people have fun with 5e despite the fact that bounded accuracy is bad.Your point kinda fell apart when you tried to claim that WBL, skill challenges, and bounded accuracy are bad. None of those are bad in actual fact. You just don't like them.

Edit: Even THAC0 isn't bad. It's just not generally as easy for most people to use as a bonus to a roll vs increasing ACs. So it's definitely worse than the alternative, but not inherently bad.

Cosi
2016-05-17, 04:54 PM
This isn't a videogame that needs a random item generator to preserve replay value because the actual content of the game has to be made all at once then distributed. If the GM is playing around with different campaigns having different themes, and the players are making characters which are highly varied in a character sense, and so on and so forth there's plenty of replay value without even introducing all that much mechanical variety, let alone randomness.

Is there a better system? WBL is bad for reasons discussed below, giving people the exact items they want could work okay but there are obvious implementation issues. Random items is simple, relatively balanced, and it creates cool stories when you randomly roll something way above your level.


Your point kinda fell apart when you tried to claim that WBL, skill challenges, and bounded accuracy are bad. None of those are bad in actual fact. You just don't like them.

WBL might be the wrong term for the thing I'm referencing (Magic Item Christmas Tree, Ye Olde Magic Marte, maybe something else). The problem with WBL is that it makes magic items a net negative for the gaming experience. If you are expected to have a +3 sword at 10th level either you have it (which doesn't feel like anything, because you have the numbers you are supposed to) or you don't have it (which feels bad, because you can't deal with challenges you're supposed to). That's compounded with issues 3e had with specific numbers, but the underlying system is bad.

Skill Challenges aren't a bad concept, but they had an awful implementation. You can read about their failings in detail in Anatomy of Failed Design: Skill Challenges (http://tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=49652).

Bounded Accuracy is a bad idea for a fantasy game, because it means you cannot have any enemy that is a threat to society. As such, marauding dragons or eldritch horrors can't exist. Because you can kill one with the local archery club. Incidentally, this makes the Zendikar cross-over really stupid, because the entire story of Zendikar is about eldritch horrors that kill armies.


Edit: Even THAC0 isn't bad. It's just not generally as easy for most people to use as a bonus to a roll vs increasing ACs. So it's definitely worse than the alternative, but not inherently bad.

What could "bad" possibly mean other than "worse than alternatives"?

Tanarii
2016-05-17, 05:15 PM
What could "bad" possibly mean other than "worse than alternatives"?If that's how you want to use it that's fine. But in that case, you're still wrong about WBL, Skill Challenges, and Bounded Accuracy. They are not worse than the alternatives in fact. Just in your personal opinion.

Cosi
2016-05-17, 05:49 PM
If that's how you want to use it that's fine. But in that case, you're still wrong about WBL, Skill Challenges, and Bounded Accuracy. They are not worse than the alternatives in fact. Just in your personal opinion.

It's possible that someone (though clearly not you) could make an argument for WBL or Bounded Accuracy. But Skill Challenges are objectively bad. They had explicit design goals, and they failed to achieve those goals. Because they are bad.

Cluedrew
2016-05-17, 05:55 PM
No, "rollplaying" is "anything gamers do I don't like" and "roleplaying" is "anything gamers do I like".OK, I'm not sure if you were joking or not but either way I take issue with throwing these definitions around because... they aren't useful. The definitions I have picked up and found useful are:

Roleplaying: Making decisions from an in character perspective, using information as it is presented by the narrative.

Rollplaying: Making decisions from an out of character perspective, using information as it is presented by the rules.

... Maybe "in/out-of world" might be appropriate to help extend the idea to character creation when there is no character to view things from. For instance I would consider deciding that my character - who grew up working on a farm - is strong roleplaying and deciding that this means I will spend X points on creation time to give them Y in STR rollplaying. Generally, the better the system is the more these overlap.

Sorry for picking this out, I just don't like it when people rob words of their meaning.

Tanarii
2016-05-17, 05:59 PM
It's possible that someone (though clearly not you) could make an argument for WBL or Bounded Accuracy. But Skill Challenges are objectively bad. They had explicit design goals, and they failed to achieve those goals. Because they are bad.There's no point in me making "an argument for" anything. That would be accepting that you're doing something other than presenting an opinion on personal preference as if it were a fact.

Talakeal
2016-05-17, 07:17 PM
If "a fighter" is all you build, then no, you're not being creative with it, and you probably are better off with a game in which you choose everything, and the focus is entirely about mechanics.

But if you're building Sven, the wanderer from the north, whose high constitution comes from enduring the long winters, but whose lack of high mental abilities is related to the boring and repetitive life in the fjords, who has traveled south to alleviate boredom, who doesn't use words to try to convince the king that orcs are raiding, but merely throws seven orc heads at his feet, whose first impression of another man is based almost entirely on strength, and takes a long time to learn to respect a mage, then you are being creative.

Note how much of that description was based on the stats you described.

In a game of original D&D, I rolled STR 4, DEX 16, CHA high, WIS low, and the rest low-to-average. I was considering dumping him, when the DM said, "That's a nine-year-old kid." So I went with it. He became David, a nine-year-old street kid who was a 1st level Thief. (There was more background than that, of course.)

He once took down a sentry by walking up sniffling and crying, and saying, "Where's my daddy? I can't find him. I'm cold, and I'm tired, and I'm hungry, and I'm thirsty, and I want my daddy!" As the sentry turned to get some food, the kid sneak attacked.

Even in 3.5e, the stat sheet with all the feats and skills and chosen stats is only about one half of my PC's character development.

Out of curiosity, do you know where the image of throwing severed heads at the kings feet comes from? I see the image in a lot of media and have always wondered what it was referencing.

ImNotTrevor
2016-05-17, 07:35 PM
There's no point in me making "an argument for" anything. That would be accepting that you're doing something other than presenting an opinion on personal preference as if it were a fact.

Actually, if you watch talks from GDC (Game Design Conference) you'll see that a lot of our interpretation of game design can be very concrete and objective. That's why game design is improving. You must know what works and what doesn't.

The objective way to measure if a subsystem/mechanic is done well is pretty simple:
1. What is the system supposed to do?
2. Does it do that?
3. If yes, it is well designed. If no, it is poorly designed.

If I want to make a system that streamlines a process, but it actually makes the process take longer, then I have objectively designed poorly.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-17, 07:44 PM
Actually, if you watch talks from GDC (Game Design Conference) you'll see that a lot of our interpretation of game design can be very concrete and objective. That's why game design is improving. You must know what works and what doesn't.

The objective way to measure if a subsystem/mechanic is done well is pretty simple:
1. What is the system supposed to do?
2. Does it do that?
3. If yes, it is well designed. If no, it is poorly designed.

If I want to make a system that streamlines a process, but it actually makes the process take longer, then I have objectively designed poorly.

First, I'm not certain that game design is in any way getting better, and second, you'd have to get people to agree on what a system is supposed to do and get them to agree on whether it accomplishes that.

Jay R
2016-05-17, 07:50 PM
Might be allowed in 0e and BECMI, but AD&D 1e had "you must be this class if your attribute is <=6". I think it was magic user for strength and illusionist for constitution, but that could easily be backwards (my Players Handbook isn't handy). Needless to say, there are reasons almost nobody played by *all* the rules (I only remember these after writing up a character generation program that checked them all).

That's correct. David the Thief could not have been played in 1e, because his WIS made him automatically a Thief, and his STR made him automatically a Magic-User (My PH is here). As I said, this was original D&D.


If the goal is to make your character weaker doesnít random rolling fail that goal. You might roll really good stats and as such be strong than the rest of the group.

You still don't get the point of using dice.

Point buy is (almost) always used to make the strongest possible version of the exact character you want to play, and to ensure that each player has the same opportunity to create a strong character. (Only the opportunity. I'm currently playing the strongest character in the party in a 3.5e game, because the others made sub-optimal designs.) Ifd that's what you want, then play a game that works that way, and I hope you have a great time with it. Sometimes I play that way, and I enjoy it.

By contrast, rolling dice is used to provide a variety of results. Some high, some low, some average, etc. I've had the weakest member of the party, and accepted the challenge. I've had the strongest member of the party, and enjoyed the expansive opportunities. I've had weird sets of stats, and enjoyed the difficulties of making a fun character out of it.

It is NOT TRUE that "the goal is to make your character weaker". It is, however, true that it will sometimes make your character weaker. I agree with you completely that somebody who is not willing to sometimes play a weaker character should not roll for stats.


I have a bunch of lists with option that I can roll on...

When I create a character I can roll for stats, class, hair colour, favorite food, etc...

While playing I can roll for every action I might take.... and it is great, I never have to make a plan or even think about what I am going to do next.

I wouldn't want it any other way, because that is what roleplaying is all about... rolling those dice.

or

Am I confused and was that rollplaying?? :smallwink:

No, you aren't confused. You are simply trying to insult people for enjoying things differently from you.

Insult received.

ImNotTrevor
2016-05-17, 08:04 PM
First, I'm not certain that game design is in any way getting better, and second, you'd have to get people to agree on what a system is supposed to do and get them to agree on whether it accomplishes that.

Watch the conference talks for proof that it is. We understand a lot more about how games work and how humans interact with games. With actual science, too.

As for the secondn that's really easy and requires no consensus: Ask the Designer what it was supposed to do.
Done.

For part two, if the majority agree that it failed, it probably failed even if a few people liked it.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-17, 08:13 PM
Watch the conference talks for proof that it is. We understand a lot more about how games work and how humans interact with games. With actual science, too.


My actual experience with actual games -- tabletop RPGs, video games, etc -- is telling me otherwise. They're certainly not getting better for me, and in some cases are very much getting worse.


And my worry is that any "science of games" will be taken as prescriptive rather than analytical, and end up doing the same thing to game design that Campbell's work did to storytelling... create a list of shallow bullet-points that everyone tries to hit because they read that those things are "how you do it right". I'm sick of stories being written or filmed to hit all the bullet points of a "hero's journey", it makes everything cookie-cutter, and that's the last thing we need happening to game design.

obryn
2016-05-17, 08:22 PM
Your three of encumbrance, food and water and rolling for abilities, is a lot more just old vs new. The new players, especially 2000 and on hate all that ''old stuff'' as they just want to video game roll play. And rolling of abilities is a great way to play, but sure it does not fit in with the modern ''build'' idea for the roll players. But it's great for a role player. You roll some dice, then create a character off the rolls. A rolled character is unique, and not a lame point buy copy that always have high stats in the wanted stats.

There is noting wrong with the older editions food/water rules or encumbrance rules, if you want to play that type of game.

Some you ''missed'':

Spell Components

Weapon/equipment breakage

Instant Character Death

Any negative effect on a character that can not be removed simply
Hi, I'm going back in time to this post.

I've been playing since 1982ish, and I mostly agree that rations and encumbrance are both pretty well garbage. So are spell components and weapon breakage. Anything that increases fiddliness but not fun should generally be avoided. There are some games that handle ammunition, rations, encumbrance, etc., well, but usually not all of them at once, and usually they are tied into the system really cleanly while reducing fiddliness. In other words, "not how AD&D does it."

Instant character death and rolling-for-stats are good again if the rest of the system accommodates them. In fact, I'd say they are intricately tied together. Fast character generation makes character death a lot easier to deal with. Games like BECMI D&D and Dungeon Crawl Classics are great for that, but games like 3e/4e/5e D&D are less so.

In a general sense, I think the roll-play/role-play canard is extremely tired. It's weird faux-superiority that reminds me of early 90's VtM players. :smallsmile:


I think the main reason I don't do encumbrance is because I majored in math, and it actively pains me to hear people complain about having to add and subtract decimals.
I thought you were going the other way, here - because a true mathematician avoids actual numbers as much as possible. :smallbiggrin:



It's possible that someone (though clearly not you) could make an argument for WBL or Bounded Accuracy. But Skill Challenges are objectively bad. They had explicit design goals, and they failed to achieve those goals. Because they are bad.
DMG1 skill challenges are objectively bad. They are a complete design failure, with bad math that does the opposite of what it's intended to do. Rules Compendium skill challenges are a different beast altogether. They are mathematically sound, and function very well when run properly. I think we have already beaten this dead horse, however.

Otherwise - I agree that WBL/magic item christmas tree is bad. As implemented in 3e and 4e, it's a secondary point-buy system for non-class-related power-ups. It's a terrible system because it increases the fiddliness on everyone's side of the table, makes weird restrictions on what treasure can be found when that takes place outside of in-world logic, and it's so tied into the basic math of the game that you end up screwing it all up if you ignore it. (With that said - 4e with inherent bonuses lets you ignore all of that nonsense and takes care of the math for you. So that's good at least, and I won't run 4e without it.)

Bounded Accuracy is fine for attack rolls. Heck; I'd say it's great, because it lets you capture power levels in HP/damage instead of d20 modifiers. There's enough attack rolls during a typical combat that a curve will show up over time. It fails, however, for saving throws and skill checks because most of those feature single-roll task resolution.

Jay R
2016-05-17, 08:49 PM
First, it's interesting to me that (IIRC) a lot of the people arguing in favor of random stats as a way to constrain creativity have also argued that 3e is a bad game because you get punished for not playing a caster/casters are broken/whatever. Is that also a restriction, and thus also good?

I don't argue against 3.5e. Designing the character exactly to order is fun. It's just not the only kind of fun. And it's not the fun I found in D&D when I started in 1975.


Second, if you want to play a character with suboptimal stats, you can do that in point buy. Any set of stats you roll can also be created by point buy (with appropriate starting stats and point values), and any set of stats you bought could have also been created by rolling. If you really want your 8 INT Wizard or your 18 DEX Cleric, you can do that in point buy to (essentially) the same degree as you can with rolled stats. So what exactly is the advantage here?

The advantage is that rolling the dice for an unknown result, and then playing that result, is fun. I enjoy it. That's all.

But it's enough.

So would you describe getting a favorable outcome from the die rolls determining your stats as:

a) Luck
b) Not Luck

I await your answer eagerly.
I'm not the one you asked. But here is my answer.

It is certainly luck, but by itself, it is equally certainly not enough luck. We had a player at my university who could never keep his characters alive for more than a session or two. Most of us stopped showing up when we knew he would be there, because we didn't want to be hurt by his poor play. (Now I would try to help him learn how to play well. But I was 19 then, and immature.) The three DMs actively considered giving him an array of 6 18s, but decided against it because none of the ways his characters died would have been changed. When two 1st level characters walk past the signs that say "Cockatrice Valley. Stay Out", and when they hear a heavy flapping, they look up instead of ducking for cover, no stat will keep them alive.


This is basically just abandoning the argument. Yes, you have personal experiences. I also have personal experiences. But the plural of anecdote isn't data, and those personal experiences mean precisely nothing in terms of what is or is not good for the game. The point of the game is to have fun. People (in general) have fun by playing characters they want. Rolling for stats (in general) makes it less likely a given player will be able to play the character he wants. As a result, rolling for stats makes the game (in general) less fun.

This argument hinges on your statement that "People (in general) have fun by playing characters they want." If that were true, the argument would be convincing. But it's not universally true. I have had fun playing the exact characters I designed in 3.5e. But I have had just as much fun playing the characters I have rolled in original D&D, and in AD&D 1e and 2e. If somebody provides anecdotes that they have had fun playing characters they would never have chosen, but that they rolled up, that is ABSOLUTE PROOF that your assumption about fun is insufficient.

I would have said that people have fun by attempting to overcome difficult and varied challenges. But that statement is just as flawed as yours, and for the same reason. Not everybody comes to the game for the exact same reasons I do.

Have fun doing what you enjoy, and I will have fun doing what I enjoy.

Seriously, what is the point in trying to convince me that I didn't have fun in games I thought I enjoyed?


I'm fairly sure at least Jay has made that argument.

Absolutely not. Please stop making up falsehoods about me. I have consistently said that I should have the fun I like, and you should have the fun you like. I enjoy 3.5e. I also enjoy games with random stat rolling. I have consistently enjoyed D&D for 41 years now. I'm the one saying that we should all enjoy it.

Here is the only statement I have made about 3e or 3.5e:
ďEven in 3.5e, the stat sheet with all the feats and skills and chosen stats is only about one half of my PC's character development.Ē

I have also stated the following, throughout the thread:
ďIf you don't want to play that way, that's fine.Ē
ďPeople have different tastes, and enjoy different things.Ē
ďAgreed. If people want to have that much control over who their character is, then they should play a game that gives them that much control over who their character is.Ē
ďIf you don't enjoy playing weaknesses you didn't choose, sometimes having a weaker character, and facing more difficult challenges, I urge you to play point-buy. That's fun too, and I don't speak against it.

But I like the other kind of fun as well. And that's fine too.Ē

Please withdraw your false statement about me.

I have never spoken against one kind of fun. I have always and consistently spoken in favor of everybody having the fun they want.

Thatís why weíre on opposite sides.

Cluedrew
2016-05-17, 09:26 PM
Watch the conference talks for proof that it is.I'm sure there have been many advancements in game design over the years, but I don't think the increasing verboseness at conferences is the best indicator of that.

More than anything else I think the biggest improvement in gaming is simply the number of games, the time spent playing them and the amount of energy developing them. Even if the knowledge of good game design hasn't increased simply the number of games would create more good ones. And of course the number of tries has also added to the knowledge of the field. So it has certainly progressed. Still despite that there are some very old, very good game and some new and terrible games, so that isn't the only factor.

I've already said what I feel about random stat generation (source of inspiration) and my main points about what role-playing games have not done very well (social combat).

2D8HP
2016-05-17, 10:13 PM
In a general sense, I think the roll-play/role-play canard is extremely tired. It's weird faux-superiority that reminds me of early 90's VtM players. :smallsmile:Nooooo! Not even as an acronym should one dare speak of it!:smallwink:
Confession: I actually played "The game that should not be named" in the early 90's, along with "Cyberjunk" (sic) as they were the only RPG's that I could still find tables to play at! Yes, I was seeking to find the glorious fun I had playing 70's rules D&D, or even the milder fun of some other RPG's, which I definitely did not find in those games, the settings of which reminded me far too much of aspects of real life I didn't like! I don't think it was merely a matter of "growing out of gaming", as I recently returned to the hobby with 5e D&D, which is big fun.
Yes rules matter (some) but setting matters more!

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-17, 10:58 PM
Nooooo! Not even as an acronym should one dare speak of it!:smallwink:
Confession: I actually played "The game that should not be named" in the early 90's, along with "Cyberjunk" (sic) as they were the only RPG's that I could still find tables to play at! Yes, I was seeking to find the glorious fun I had playing 70's rules D&D, or even the milder fun of some other RPG's, which I definitely did not find in those games, the settings of which reminded me far too much of aspects of real life I didn't like! I don't think it was merely a matter of "growing out of gaming", as I recently returned to the hobby with 5e D&D, which is big fun.
Yes rules matter (some) but setting matters more!


I played a TON of "the game to be unnamed", and loved it. Of course, we never felt bound by the angsty navel-gazing that the pretentious ones were trying to shove down everyone's throats -- we were too busy having fun in a game. Not sure where I picked it up, but the paraphrase whatever it was, "They tell me I can't use blood powers for good... but that's OK, I'm using them for awesome."

Winter_Wolf
2016-05-17, 10:59 PM
I know we're being very D&D centric, but may I suggest for research purposes Mega Role Play Fantasy edition as both a classless, levelless system, and one which shows you some things not to do. It's a hot mess in a lot of ways. But magic is certainly not overpowering. Probably it leans a little too hard the other way. Like Skyrim Magic, but less effective.

ImNotTrevor
2016-05-17, 11:07 PM
My actual experience with actual games -- tabletop RPGs, video games, etc -- is telling me otherwise. They're certainly not getting better for me, and in some cases are very much getting worse.


And my worry is that any "science of games" will be taken as prescriptive rather than analytical, and end up doing the same thing to game design that Campbell's work did to storytelling... create a list of shallow bullet-points that everyone tries to hit because they read that those things are "how you do it right". I'm sick of stories being written or filmed to hit all the bullet points of a "hero's journey", it makes everything cookie-cutter, and that's the last thing we need happening to game design.

"I have played bad games. Games aren't improving in general!" Mk.

You seem to have this idea that understanding how to do a thing means that there is one right way to do said thing. In some instances, there is. Gunshots are better when the audio has some decent bass. Otherwise they feel like popcap guns. This is pretty universal. (Because real guns have some thump.) But for a lot of things, there isn't. Or we don't know the answer yet. We know some of the basics, though.

Games are vastly more complicated than their narratives. I really think you should look into the GDC discussions for some good examples of the kinds of intersections going on. For instance, the intersection of level design, evolutionary biology, and behavioral psychology. Really.

Creativity is not a ghost we can never understand or catch. We can actually do pretty good at it.

Granted, trpgs are a much smaller industry and so they don't often attract the minds that are well suited to game design. But... there are still great examples of unique takes on trpgs that move away from a lot of the most common mechanics. (Ryuutama, Fall of Magic, Apocalypse World, etc.)

But still. Good design is not purely subjective. It can be very objective. And often is.

JoeJ
2016-05-18, 03:01 AM
This argument hinges on your statement that "People (in general) have fun by playing characters they want." If that were true, the argument would be convincing. But it's not universally true. I have had fun playing the exact characters I designed in 3.5e. But I have had just as much fun playing the characters I have rolled in original D&D, and in AD&D 1e and 2e. If somebody provides anecdotes that they have had fun playing characters they would never have chosen, but that they rolled up, that is ABSOLUTE PROOF that your assumption about fun is insufficient.

Indeed. Some people enjoy starting with an idea for a character that they then build. Other people enjoy figuring out what kind of interesting character they can create from randomly generated stats. And some people can even enjoy doing it either way.

Earthwalker
2016-05-18, 04:50 AM
[snip]
You still don't get the point of using dice.
Point buy is (almost) always used to make the strongest possible version of the exact character you want to play, and to ensure that each player has the same opportunity to create a strong character. (Only the opportunity. I'm currently playing the strongest character in the party in a 3.5e game, because the others made sub-optimal designs.) Ifd that's what you want, then play a game that works that way, and I hope you have a great time with it. Sometimes I play that way, and I enjoy it.

I personally use point build to create the character I want to play that criteria isnít based on the strongest possible, its based on fitting the background I have decided for the character. This does mean I hate point buy systems where the cost change before and after character creation (shadowrun is a good example of this)


By contrast, rolling dice is used to provide a variety of results. Some high, some low, some average, etc. I've had the weakest member of the party, and accepted the challenge. I've had the strongest member of the party, and enjoyed the expansive opportunities. I've had weird sets of stats, and enjoyed the difficulties of making a fun character out of it.
It is NOT TRUE that "the goal is to make your character weaker". It is, however, true that it will sometimes make your character weaker. I agree with you completely that somebody who is not willing to sometimes play a weaker character should not roll for stats.
[snip]


This puts the goal of rolling randomly being to generate random results. Which I can say it succeeds at but I arenít sure how helpful that is. Why is having random results good ? How does that help ? What is the goal of random results ?


Ah, yes, this debate is not pointless. The one that preceded it (this-is-fun/good-this-is-not-fun/good) was :smallsmile:. And I'll gladly debate this.
So, if we assume it was really for a purpose and not just the "fad" or first good idea, it should serve a purpose. If we take the three basic possibilities that I know of - point-build, priority-build and random-roll - each gives me a limit, but the limit of point-build is usually the least constricting and allows the widest possibility to adjust and customize the character. It allows me to work on every aspect of the character as I see fit, choosing all the stuff I want - and I'm limited only by the point sum.
The priority build allows me to choose between several possibilities - weakening one part of the character while strengthening another one.
Random roll gives me a character, which I can then work on - I get the bare bones and I can only work with what the character was "born with". Just like life.
So, what do these three options tell me about the game? The first one - point build - prepares me for mostly sandbox-oriented game. I get lots of options, so I can be exactly what I want, what I dream of. However, the priority build sets me up for a game, where I have to make tough choices - where everything I choose will have some consequences.
The random rolling sets me up for a game, where my character is not someone special from the beginning - but I can make him special. And yes, it will be a challenge.
My feelings:
- point-buy is best suited for power-fantasy style of play, or sandboxes. Play-what-you-want.
- priority-build is best suited for tough-choice style of play, narrative focused. Play-what-you-dare.
- random-roll is best suited for challenging play. This-is-what-you-play...now go, and make us proud :smallbiggrin:.
However, this is mainly my feelings and I have only small repertoire of games I played (actually... 3 of them), as I usually just GM.

I feel the same about the different methods you describe but that is how I ďfeelĒ about them. When I think about it I still come up against the same issue, if I roll randomly and roll really well then it isnít as you put it challenging play. (Equally you can have point buy and still be challenged)

Then I think I came to a small epiphany between your and Jay Rs comments. Looking at the random dice roll on their own for a goal might be a foolís errand. When you combine then with a highly lethal game they start making more sense. (as you have said)

When you are using the system a lot the randomness in character creation is going to be noticed and used more if you are making a new character every couple of weeks.

This also opens up other elements people have mentioned, you are making more characters so having a random base point to spring from can help form character ideas. If you play weekly and go thru 26 characters a year you are going to run out of ideas what to play next.

Now I canít say random rolls = lethal game (or more challenging game) they do seem to fit well together tho.

It does appear I have some ideas what the goal of random rolling is. If I was making a new game and decided to put random stat rolling in I would still have a problem explaining why in isolation.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-18, 06:41 AM
"I have played bad games. Games aren't improving in general!" Mk.

You seem to have this idea that understanding how to do a thing means that there is one right way to do said thing. In some instances, there is. Gunshots are better when the audio has some decent bass. Otherwise they feel like popcap guns. This is pretty universal. (Because real guns have some thump.) But for a lot of things, there isn't. Or we don't know the answer yet. We know some of the basics, though.

Games are vastly more complicated than their narratives. I really think you should look into the GDC discussions for some good examples of the kinds of intersections going on. For instance, the intersection of level design, evolutionary biology, and behavioral psychology. Really.

Creativity is not a ghost we can never understand or catch. We can actually do pretty good at it.

Granted, trpgs are a much smaller industry and so they don't often attract the minds that are well suited to game design. But... there are still great examples of unique takes on trpgs that move away from a lot of the most common mechanics. (Ryuutama, Fall of Magic, Apocalypse World, etc.)

But still. Good design is not purely subjective. It can be very objective. And often is.

Actually, the "one right way" people would be the idiots writing paint-by-numbers fiction because they believe Campbell gave them a holy text to follow.

Firearms in movies and video games also rarely sound much like real firearms, so while game designers are fretting over the audio quality, they're evidently incapable of going out and listening to the actual sound of an actual firearm... (starting with the fact that most firearms have more "crack" than "thump").

An "intersection of level design, evolutionary biology, and behavioral psychology"? :smalltongue: Starting to sound like the advertising wonks who make the utterly ignoreable and ineffective deluge of commercials that pass by us unnoticed each day, while believing they have the keys to the human heart...

Objectively good game design amounts to "don't screw up the choice flags so that the game ignores decisions you made earlier" and "make sure there aren't a bunch of spots where players can get stuck or fall through the world". Everything else comes down to taste.

2D8HP
2016-05-18, 07:13 AM
Everything else comes down to taste.
True!

I played a TON of "the game to be unnamed", and loved it. Of course, we never felt bound by the angsty navel-gazing that the pretentious ones were trying to shove down everyone's throats -- we were too busy having fun in a game. Not sure where I picked it up, but the paraphrase whatever it was, "They tell me I can't use blood powers for good... but that's OK, I'm using them for awesome."
Powers for awesome?
Oh man, why didn't I think of that!
I must now brood.
:smallwink:

Democratus
2016-05-18, 07:32 AM
The success of a tabletop game is a lot like the success of a grade-school teacher: you know that you really succeeded when you hear about it years later.

Nothing is more gratifying as a DM than to hear your friends/players wax nostalgic about a game you ran long ago; "remember the time we had that battle inside the body of a dead god?", "this reminds me of that crazy wand salesman from Luskan!", "...and there your character was, covered in honey, while the Gith queen gave her monologue...".

Makes me smile to this day.

That is what table top games are (and always have been) getting right. :smallwink:

lacco36
2016-05-18, 07:32 AM
I feel the same about the different methods you describe but that is how I ďfeelĒ about them. When I think about it I still come up against the same issue, if I roll randomly and roll really well then it isnít as you put it challenging play. (Equally you can have point buy and still be challenged)

One additional idea that sprung when you said "if I roll randomly and roll really well": it is the same, if you roll three criticals in a row. It doesn't mean you just won the game, but you got a streak of luck, which will be more memorable to you. The same kind of memorable as when you roll badly on your character generation and suddenly find a great idea for a character and it not only works, is entertaining, but also is able to overcome what is thrown at him by the game... :smallsmile:

What I was surprised in these forums was, when a GM posted a game, which doesn't have to be "OP" or where he expects more roleplay and less optimization, and players who rolled under some standard point-buy set, immediately left the game. I can understand that in games, where the GM states he requires optimized chars to kill everything in their path, but this felt...strange.


Then I think I came to a small epiphany between your and Jay Rs comments. Looking at the random dice roll on their own for a goal might be a foolís errand. When you combine then with a highly lethal game they start making more sense. (as you have said)

When you are using the system a lot the randomness in character creation is going to be noticed and used more if you are making a new character every couple of weeks.

This also opens up other elements people have mentioned, you are making more characters so having a random base point to spring from can help form character ideas. If you play weekly and go thru 26 characters a year you are going to run out of ideas what to play next.

Yes, I agree that the context is important. And not only the lethality comes into play. Certain playstyles/game types - e.g. famous West March campaign - are well-suited even for the characters that are considered "subpar". Sandbox games, less hack&slash oriented games - there it can work wonders.

I'd add what the others said - if you get to roll 3-4 characters and pick the ones that fit best - it works well.
If you are in a game whose premise is "you are a band of runaways, castaways, outlaws, unsatisfied guardsmen and magic appretices and you decided to go dungeon-delving", it works even better.
If it's a game which allows you to fight smart, use tactics to your advantage and play smart (e.g. if you're not ST 18 fighter you still can take out opponents if you fight defensively and wait for their mistake), it would work beautifully.
I agree, that for some games it works better than for other. Especially in games where starting equipment plays primary role (I'm looking at you, 3.5e :smallbiggrin:) for most characters.

However, it doesn't work for the "Well, I have this idea about this character which I wanted to play for long time...". It's more like a pick-up game. Who shows? No idea, but it's going to be interesting nevertheless :smallwink:.


Now I canít say random rolls = lethal game (or more challenging game) they do seem to fit well together tho.

I completely agree.
However, it also depends on playstyle. Power fantasy vs. heroic fantasy vs. gritty fantasy - you can guess which one it works best with :smallsmile:.


It does appear I have some ideas what the goal of random rolling is. If I was making a new game and decided to put random stat rolling in I would still have a problem explaining why in isolation.

In isolation, it would be hard to explain - that's true. I wouldn't know myself.

I had this discussion with a friend of mine over a priority-build. We played Shadowrun, switched to Riddle of Steel. He immediately disliked the priority-creation, because it limited the character he wanted to play.

I thought about it for some time and presented an argument - something around "This game is about tough choices, about having to pay price for everything you choose, and about every choice having its drawbacks, as well as positives. It's about choosing and sticking to the choice. And it's about conflicting choices - where nothing is black & white, but all shades of gray (no, it's not a reference :smallbiggrin:). So choose - and think about what you are sacrificing...".

To his credit, he thought about it and came with really good character concept, worked it inside the system and got a flawed, but "breathing and living" character. When we talked about the character after first game, he said that he had absolute blast playing him, and he would have never built something like that in Shadowrun - mostly because he likes to cover all the bases and have no obvious weaknesses.

And random rolling is something like that - but even more satisfying if you can pull it off. Yes, it can give you 18s in each attribute - on a really really lucky roll - or 3 in four attributes. Or completely "bland" character, with all attributes on average. But the real question is - what do you make of the character?

And now I lost the original thought I wanted to post. Never mind, I'll remember later. :smallsmile: Ending this small rant.

Democratus
2016-05-18, 07:37 AM
I thought about it for some time and presented an argument - something around "This game is about tough choices, about having to pay price for everything you choose, and about every choice having its drawbacks, as well as positives. It's about choosing and sticking to the choice. And it's about conflicting choices - where nothing is black & white, but all shades of gray (no, it's not a reference :smallbiggrin:). So choose - and think about what you are sacrificing...".

Well said. I'd been looking for a way to express this sentiment.

This is exactly the kind of game I enjoy the most.

Meaningful choices make for meaningful stories. Something is most dear when you pay a heavy price to attain it.

Jay R
2016-05-18, 07:38 AM
I personally use point build to create the character I want to play that criteria isnít based on the strongest possible, its based on fitting the background I have decided for the character. This does mean I hate point buy systems where the cost change before and after character creation (shadowrun is a good example of this)

Now this is what mystifies me. I've never found an RPG I "hate". There are a few I won't play, because the setting doesn't grab me, and many I haven't experienced, but I can't imagine "hating" a game system.


This puts the goal of rolling randomly being to generate random results.

Wow. Was it ever possible to doubt that?


Which I can say it succeeds at but I arenít sure how helpful that is. Why is having random results good ? How does that help ? What is the goal of random results ?

You can ask this question equally about every die roll in every game, from the swing of a sword to what magic item was found. I don't have a clear answer, for the same reason that I can't tell you the goal of why water is wet.

Some games, like chess, or Go, have no random component at all. In many games, some things are random and some aren't. And in a few games, there are no non-random actions at all. You roll the die and do what it says.

And some people like all of these games, or they wouldn't exist.

Different versions of D&D have different amounts of randomness. And some people like every version, or they wouldn't exist.

What's the "goal"? Having fun. I enjoy the process of building a character with a point-buy, and I enjoy the very different process of watching the dice fall and then seeing what I can do with the results.

The goal is enjoyment.

I will say this. In original D&D with Greyhawk (the first really playable version), the actual stats made far less difference than they do in modern D&D (3e and later). So bad rolls were merely annoying, not debilitating. The difference between a Fighting Man (yes, that was the term) with STR 16 and one with STR 7 was that the 16 gave:
+10% xps,
improved opening doors (1-3 instead of 1-2 on a d6)
+1 to hit and damage,
the ability to carry an additional +150 weight points (the weight of one shield, or one pole-arm, or three swords)


I feel the same about the different methods you describe but that is how I ďfeelĒ about them. When I think about it I still come up against the same issue, if I roll randomly and roll really well then it isnít as you put it challenging play. (Equally you can have point buy and still be challenged)

It's a different challenging play - covering for your teammates. If we face a group of orcs led by a troll, the big guy faces the troll. And a competent DM will aim more at you in any case. But it really didn't take long to even things up with the magic item allotment. I'm doing it again right now in 3.5e, just because many of them have poor builds. [This isn't because I'm that great a builder. It's my first game of 3.5e, and I came here for advice.]

Also, it was how you got to play one of the restricted classes. I had the only paladin in our group, simply because I had the only 18 CHA. And we had no Illusionist or Ranger, because nobody met the requirements.


Then I think I came to a small epiphany between your and Jay Rs comments. Looking at the random dice roll on their own for a goal might be a foolís errand. When you combine then with a highly lethal game they start making more sense. (as you have said)

When you are using the system a lot the randomness in character creation is going to be noticed and used more if you are making a new character every couple of weeks.

There's some truth there, but I only ever lost two PCs, so that's not all of it. In early D&D, we all had several characters. If Darkstar was still down in Todd's dungeon, I might use Endora in Richard's. Or the party might need a Thief, so I'd use Robin Banks.


This also opens up other elements people have mentioned, you are making more characters so having a random base point to spring from can help form character ideas. If you play weekly and go thru 26 characters a year you are going to run out of ideas what to play next.

Now I canít say random rolls = lethal game (or more challenging game) they do seem to fit well together tho.

It does appear I have some ideas what the goal of random rolling is. If I was making a new game and decided to put random stat rolling in I would still have a problem explaining why in isolation.

I think the biggest disconnects are the difference in the importance of the stats, the idea that you only have one character at a time, and the notion that you should have complete say in what the character is. In chess, I take the pieces the game gives me. In original D&D, I took the characters the dice gave me.

And even back then, many DMs were ready to modify the rolls, or make some adjustment. One DM looked at my rolls once and said, "He never leaves the farm. He marries, has a good life, and dies in his bed. The end. Let's play again. Roll up a new character."

In a game of original D&D ten years ago, I let people roll 3d6 six times, but they could either use the tops or the bottoms of the dice (so a 5, 15, 8, 10, 10, 9 could also be taken as a 16, 6, 13, 11, 11, 12). And I let them choose to read the dice from first to last or from last to first, so the 16 could be either Strength or Charisma, etc. Nobody got a perfect build, but all 12 players got a playable character on the first try.

It's still random, but with a little more control, and the option of reading the bottom of the dice guarantees that the rolls aren't less than average.

lacco36
2016-05-18, 07:49 AM
It's a different challenging play - covering for your teammates. If we face a group of orcs led by a troll, the big guy faces the troll. And a competent DM will aim more at you in any case. But it really didn't take long to even things up with the magic item allotment. I'm doing it again right now in 3.5e, just because many of them have poor builds. [This isn't because I'm that great a builder. It's my first game of 3.5e, and I came here for advice.]

And this was exactly the point I forgot!

You build a character, but in the end, you are creating a party of characters.

I just finished recruiting for "expedition" type game, where players came - and created individual characters, ignoring the obvious idea (and also direct advice) to create a consistent party, to communicate who should know what and what they are missing. We'll see how long they survive - maybe they'll surprise me. But they'll have a lot harder time than if they worked together from the start.

One of the players caught the advice - and started helping others "round up" their characters.

But back to the point - even if one of the party is "less efficient" at the start, the party can help him, and thus help each other. If we have two fighters - one tank, one lightweight, and they get armour, who should get it? Who'll get the +1 sword?

And also, my view as the GM: if I play with people and they spend two weeks creating the "ultimate" character or the "best one the point-buy can make", I'll long for random rolling.

Oh and I loved the GM from the story! That's wonderful idea, how to say "reroll that char" :smallbiggrin:

goto124
2016-05-18, 08:48 AM
And even back then, many DMs were ready to modify the rolls, or make some adjustment. One DM looked at my rolls once and said, "He never leaves the farm. He marries, has a good life, and dies in his bed. The end. Let's play again. Roll up a new character."

Think we should start a new thread called "Tales of Death by Character Creation"?:

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-18, 08:50 AM
Think we should start a new thread called "Tales of Death by Character Creation"?:


Some games get a huge head start by building character death into a "randomly rolled backstory". :smalltongue:

2D8HP
2016-05-18, 08:55 AM
Some games get a huge head start by building character death into a "randomly rolled backstory". :smalltongue:
ŅQue es Traveller? :smallwink:

goto124
2016-05-18, 09:07 AM
Could anyone recommend me an utterly horrible a good character generator for Traveller please?

obryn
2016-05-18, 09:28 AM
Nooooo! Not even as an acronym should one dare speak of it!:smallwink:
Confession: I actually played "The game that should not be named" in the early 90's, along with "Cyberjunk" (sic) as they were the only RPG's that I could still find tables to play at!
Well, for a time in the 90's, that was where the zeitgeist was. VtM brought a lot of new people into the hobby, and it was every bit as popular as AD&D 2e - a stale and flavorless system, tied to 25-year-old mechanics. My friends and I all moved on to Earthdawn, ourselves.

I think there's a lot of awful stuff about 90's game design, but it was the 90's and we didn't know any better. :smallsmile:


I played a TON of "the game to be unnamed", and loved it. Of course, we never felt bound by the angsty navel-gazing that the pretentious ones were trying to shove down everyone's throats -- we were too busy having fun in a game. Not sure where I picked it up, but the paraphrase whatever it was, "They tell me I can't use blood powers for good... but that's OK, I'm using them for awesome."
Yeah, this is one of the ironies about the whole WoD shtick. The fiction is all about brooding gothy deep immersion story stuff. The rules, though, are incredibly crunchy and detailed, and mostly deal with ways to use your powers to kill things.


I will say this. In original D&D with Greyhawk (the first really playable version), the actual stats made far less difference than they do in modern D&D (3e and later). So bad rolls were merely annoying, not debilitating. The difference between a Fighting Man (yes, that was the term) with STR 16 and one with STR 7 was that the 16 gave:
+10% xps,
improved opening doors (1-3 instead of 1-2 on a d6)
+1 to hit and damage,
the ability to carry an additional +150 weight points (the weight of one shield, or one pole-arm, or three swords)
Yep. OD&D and its retro-clones don't care much about your stats. 3d6 down the line works just fine, because your stats really don't matter much.

That began to change in Holmes Basic, I think, and came to full fruition in AD&D 1e.

Remember - "4d6 pick 3, arrange to taste" was Method I in AD&D 1e. It was the default expectation already in the late 70's because stat inflation was in full bloom, and your stats mattered a lot. Not only were there high requirements for entry for some classes, you didn't start to see modifiers until pretty far off in the margins of the bell curve - usually 15 or 16 and higher. 3d6-in-order doesn't really work well in AD&D, which is why it's Method VI or something.

AD&D 2e tried to put the high-stats cat back in the bag (lol, Rath) which was just one way in which 2e's designers didn't really understand how AD&D 1e's moving parts fit together.

Earthwalker
2016-05-18, 09:31 AM
[snip lots of things. Mainly because I agree with them and have nothing to add]
I had this discussion with a friend of mine over a priority-build. We played Shadowrun, switched to Riddle of Steel. He immediately disliked the priority-creation, because it limited the character he wanted to play.
I thought about it for some time and presented an argument - something around "This game is about tough choices, about having to pay price for everything you choose, and about every choice having its drawbacks, as well as positives. It's about choosing and sticking to the choice. And it's about conflicting choices - where nothing is black & white, but all shades of gray (no, it's not a reference :smallbiggrin:). So choose - and think about what you are sacrificing...".
To his credit, he thought about it and came with really good character concept, worked it inside the system and got a flawed, but "breathing and living" character. When we talked about the character after first game, he said that he had absolute blast playing him, and he would have never built something like that in Shadowrun - mostly because he likes to cover all the bases and have no obvious weaknesses.

I like this is that character creation had a clear goal make sure that your choices matter and that you have to be weak in certain areas to be strong in others. From the sound of things it carried on to how you make choices in game, working out what sacrifices you were willing to make for what result you wanted.

To me this is a game system working as intended and so working well.


And random rolling is something like that - but even more satisfying if you can pull it off. Yes, it can give you 18s in each attribute - on a really really lucky roll - or 3 in four attributes. Or completely "bland" character, with all attributes on average. But the real question is - what do you make of the character?
And now I lost the original thought I wanted to post. Never mind, I'll remember later. :smallsmile: Ending this small rant.

As the thread has gone on my original thoughts on what systems do random stat rolls well has been all over. I am still having trouble working out what is the design goal behind random rolling but I can certainly see the types of games it begins to fit into.


Now this is what mystifies me. I've never found an RPG I "hate". There are a few I won't play, because the setting doesn't grab me, and many I haven't experienced, but I can't imagine "hating" a game system.


You are right hate is too strong a word. It would be better to say I think that point buy systems with a different cost ratio at character creation than in game are flawed for people that like to create characters with workable backgrounds.


Wow. Was it ever possible to doubt that?
You can ask this question equally about every die roll in every game, from the swing of a sword to what magic item was found. I don't have a clear answer, for the same reason that I can't tell you the goal of why water is wet.

The original post I have been responding to and the one that raises my questions relates to what games have handled random stat generation at character creation well.
If the only goal for random generation is that it is random then then answer is all of them.

All random things are random but that is not helpful.

So if you focus on games that do it well you need some idea what that game is doing and why. As such you need to have some idea for the reasoning behind a design decision. What is this design trying to do. Did this in fact do what it is trying. If so it worked well.
This is not like asking why is water wet. I did not design water to be wet. I am designing a system that uses random rolls. What does this mean for my system.

Please note I am not saying random rolls are bad. I donít think random rolls are doing it wrong. I am trying to understand what they add. Also I am wondering what else could do the same.



[snip]
There's some truth there, but I only ever lost two PCs, so that's not all of it. In early D&D, we all had several characters. If Darkstar was still down in Todd's dungeon, I might use Endora in Richard's. Or the party might need a Thief, so I'd use Robin Banks.
I think the biggest disconnects are the difference in the importance of the stats, the idea that you only have one character at a time, and the notion that you should have complete say in what the character is. In chess, I take the pieces the game gives me. In original D&D, I took the characters the dice gave me.
And even back then, many DMs were ready to modify the rolls, or make some adjustment. One DM looked at my rolls once and said, "He never leaves the farm. He marries, has a good life, and dies in his bed. The end. Let's play again. Roll up a new character."
In a game of original D&D ten years ago, I let people roll 3d6 six times, but they could either use the tops or the bottoms of the dice (so a 5, 15, 8, 10, 10, 9 could also be taken as a 16, 6, 13, 11, 11, 12). And I let them choose to read the dice from first to last or from last to first, so the 16 could be either Strength or Charisma, etc. Nobody got a perfect build, but all 12 players got a playable character on the first try.
It's still random, but with a little more control, and the option of reading the bottom of the dice guarantees that the rolls aren't less than average.

In all the systems I have played there has been a limit on what your character is. Points available to buy stats, rolled stats, priority that kind of thing. I have never had complete say on who my character is.

Again itís looking like because its random you are going to get good and bad results. It also seems to average out over the party so it creates a situation where the stronger have to help the weak. Maybe thatís one more reason for random rolling and maybe something to design into a game.

Earthwalker
2016-05-18, 09:55 AM
Could elaborate a bit more on how it works? It sounds interesting.

Sorry I missed replying to this question.

I have only played one session of the game so far. At the moment I don't think I could do justice to the rules and their intent. Perhaps someone who has played more would be able to give you a better idea. I will give a basic idea from what I have seen.

You have the usual kind of fatigue stat (body + racial modifier)
Then you choose your combat equipment (its assumed everyone has travel equipment, the game is a lot about travel)

The encumbrance of your equipment is taken away from your fatigue.

Daily as you travel you need to make a skill roll (I can't remember the skill) or deduce a value from your fatigue.

Also the GM is free to offer opportunities for rolls that may cost you fatigue but may open up new areas to explore or other opportunities.

Once your fatigue drops to a certain point you become "Weary" this effects how you read dice rolls making tasks harder.

As a player on a long journey you can only watch as the rolls called for slowly eat into your fatigue. I think with a decent GM offering chances to risk more fatigue for other rewards it can work well.

What I liked was just how simple it was (its not revolutionary just handwaves bookkeeping). Its a simple and fast system.

grimsly
2016-05-18, 10:21 AM
Again itís looking like because its random you are going to get good and bad results. It also seems to average out over the party so it creates a situation where the stronger have to help the weak. Maybe thatís one more reason for random rolling and maybe something to design into a game.

What if there were an explicit reward for helping lower level characters built into the system? I realize in a 'healthy' group it shouldn't be necessary, but 1- it might feel good and 2- let's be honest here... it's necessary.

For instance, if after combat anyone who had helped a numerically inferior PC gets 25 extra 'mentoring' experience ( number subject to change), and numerically inferior PCs required less experience per level, it could encourage asymmetrical party construction, which would better approximate a lot of fiction. Something to think about...

JoeJ
2016-05-18, 10:36 AM
Sorry I missed replying to this question.

I have only played one session of the game so far. At the moment I don't think I could do justice to the rules and their intent. Perhaps someone who has played more would be able to give you a better idea. I will give a basic idea from what I have seen.

You have the usual kind of fatigue stat (body + racial modifier)
Then you choose your combat equipment (its assumed everyone has travel equipment, the game is a lot about travel)

The encumbrance of your equipment is taken away from your fatigue.

Daily as you travel you need to make a skill roll (I can't remember the skill) or deduce a value from your fatigue.

Also the GM is free to offer opportunities for rolls that may cost you fatigue but may open up new areas to explore or other opportunities.

Once your fatigue drops to a certain point you become "Weary" this effects how you read dice rolls making tasks harder.

As a player on a long journey you can only watch as the rolls called for slowly eat into your fatigue. I think with a decent GM offering chances to risk more fatigue for other rewards it can work well.

What I liked was just how simple it was (its not revolutionary just handwaves bookkeeping). Its a simple and fast system.

So how would that system deal with a situation where you're dealing with several different types of resources - food, water, ammunition, fuel, etc. - that you can't necessarily replenish at the same place, and you have to make strategic decisions about your route to make sure you don't run out of anything critical?

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-18, 10:46 AM
Yeah, this is one of the ironies about the whole WoD shtick. The fiction is all about brooding gothy deep immersion story stuff. The rules, though, are incredibly crunchy and detailed, and mostly deal with ways to use your powers to kill things.


It's not that our V games didn't have politics and social tension and mysteries and laughing at wankers in dance clubs... it's not that our W games didn't deal with all the non-combat stuff associated with that game... etc. It's just that as players and as characters, we didn't brood over "the nature of being a monster" or "what price immortality?" or whatever. We glossed over some things, and happily proceeded with our "badwrongfun".

wumpus
2016-05-18, 12:21 PM
Nooooo! Not even as an acronym should one dare speak of it!:smallwink:
Confession: I actually played "The game that should not be named" in the early 90's, along with "Cyberjunk" (sic) as they were the only RPG's that I could still find tables to play at! Yes, I was seeking to find the glorious fun I had playing 70's rules D&D, or even the milder fun of some other RPG's, which I definitely did not find in those games, the settings of which reminded me far too much of aspects of real life I didn't like! I don't think it was merely a matter of "growing out of gaming", as I recently returned to the hobby with 5e D&D, which is big fun.
Yes rules matter (some) but setting matters more!

While I hardly played Bushido all that long, it certainly hammered home the importance of a good setting. Bushido was an extremely generic RPG (you could match all classes to an AD&D (1e) class), it had "levels" (although was primarily skill based), and the RPG appeared to be something you could churn out of GURPs reasonably quickly. The catch was that the setting was presumably built first, then each class carefully tailored to fit into the setting (while I mentioned the 1:1 matching to AD&D, the "classes" weren't generated from them. They would start with a "Bushi" (fighter) and you would have much different social interactions and opportunities if you were born into the Samurai class).

I'd assume anyone who played Pendragon had a similar experience. I was seriously let down by the "campaign handbooks" of 3.x and later. A good setting should think in terms of "total conversion" (presumably a nearly different d20 game for 3.x settings) and go with it.

Jay R
2016-05-18, 12:23 PM
Out of curiosity, do you know where the image of throwing severed heads at the kings feet comes from? I see the image in a lot of media and have always wondered what it was referencing.

Great question. I suspect that there is no one source. It's certainly quite old.

A Biblical example is found in 2 Samuel 20:22, when the head of Sheba son of Bikri is thrown to Joab to mollify him and end a siege.

An early historical version is Chiomara, the wife of Orgiagon. She was taken as the spoils of war in the Galatian war in 189 B.C. When she returned home, she threw the head of her captor and ravisher at her husband's feet.

There are probably earlier mythological examples, and I'll feel stupid as soon as somebody reminds me of them.

I also suspect that it grew rapidly as a movie or TV trope, simply because it makes such a stunning visual.

Mith
2016-05-18, 12:39 PM
The Celts also collected the heads of their enemies as trophies. "Macha's Acorns" referred to the heads of men killed in battle, with Macha being one of the three goddess of the Morrigan.

CharonsHelper
2016-05-18, 01:59 PM
-Vehicle rules
It's one thing when a fantasy game is sloppy about this, but it happens all the time in modern and even futuristic settings. A normally rules light game suddenly turns into a horrible bloat of crunch (d6 Space), a normally rules heavy game suddenly decides to dial up the weight yet further until it gets out of control (GURPS Vehicles), or they turn into decoration which does jack-all.

Yes - has any game ever had satisfactory vehicle rules? I've done some looking recently (I'm trying to design a sci-fi game, and vehicle rules of some sort are basically required) and they seem to vary from bad to worse. Some aren't horrible, but they're far too clunky for a secondary system.

I've gotten around 2/3 of it by having mecha be treated identical to infantry but larger (they hook into your nervous system - so no pilot checks or anything) and the flyers/spaceships use rather abstract rules which I'm quite happy with. It works because they're in a different plane, so they don't have to directly interact with infantry besides the occasional strafing run, and the spaceship combat actually promotes boarding in order to get the action back to the infantry level ASAP.

However, I'm not really satisfied with my vehicle rules for cars/tanks etc. I don't think that mine are any worse than other systems' rules, but as noted above, that isn't really saying much for them. >.<

Anyone have any ideas to make them work and still feel right?

Jay R
2016-05-18, 02:24 PM
Yes - has any game ever had satisfactory vehicle rules?

Car Wars, from Steve Jackson Games, is the best, obviously.

I like the Hero Systems rules (Champions, Fantasy Hero, etc.), in which a vehicle is simply built with the same rules for any other item with powers. A car is not particularly different from a flying carpet, except for being enclosed, stuck on the ground, needing to be recharged (with gasoline), etc.

Many people don't like Hero Systems, because character design requires simple arithmetic (through division). It doesn't bother me, so the vehicle rules work well for me.

obryn
2016-05-18, 03:13 PM
Feng Shui 2 has perfectly workable cinematic chase mechanics.

ImNotTrevor
2016-05-18, 07:43 PM
Actually, the "one right way" people would be the idiots writing paint-by-numbers fiction because they believe Campbell gave them a holy text to follow.
Good thing there are pretty much...none of those.



Firearms in movies and video games also rarely sound much like real firearms, so while game designers are fretting over the audio quality, they're evidently incapable of going out and listening to the actual sound of an actual firearm... (starting with the fact that most firearms have more "crack" than "thump").
And yet games that have more Crack than Thump have issues of people complaining that the guns feel weak. Firing a gun causes the gun to kick, sending a vibration through your bone structure similar to the sensation of bass sound. It's not about being realistic. It's about acheiving the desired response.



An "intersection of level design, evolutionary biology, and behavioral psychology"? :smalltongue: Starting to sound like the advertising wonks who make the utterly ignoreable and ineffective deluge of commercials that pass by us unnoticed each day, while believing they have the keys to the human heart...
Because everyone knows that the moment humans learn something we all update instantly and begin to have perfect execution of the new methodologies discovered!
Oh wait...
People can still suck at their job, even when we know a lot about how to do said job right. The fact that humans in general know a lot about carpentry does not prevent the existence of shoddy tables.



Objectively good game design amounts to "don't screw up the choice flags so that the game ignores decisions you made earlier" and "make sure there aren't a bunch of spots where players can get stuck or fall through the world". Everything else comes down to taste.

The first thing isn't even objective. It doesn't apply to puzzle games since they have no narrative. (Except inasmuch as you choose to put the line piece over there instead of over here.)

Taste does matter, but there are methodologies that apply even to the arts. (Shading makes thing look more 3d, as does use of perspective. That's not theory, that's just how it works. Doing either crappily may not have the desired outcome, but it is still the correct method to achieve what you want.)

Knaight
2016-05-18, 08:08 PM
Is there a better system? WBL is bad for reasons discussed below, giving people the exact items they want could work okay but there are obvious implementation issues. Random items is simple, relatively balanced, and it creates cool stories when you randomly roll something way above your level.

Putting aside the giant pile of assumptions here (the existence of a level system, attempting to benchmark character wealth to character level, ability to translate character wealth to character power via items, so on and so forth), my point is that you have plenty of replayability without any of these things. The point of magic items in games like D&D isn't replayability, it's genre adherence and supporting the core design of the characters who grow dramatically in power.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-18, 08:43 PM
Good thing there are pretty much...none of those.


A very large chunk of fiction being produced today, especially in the "genre" field, is utterly and transparently formulaic.




And yet games that have more Crack than Thump have issues of people complaining that the guns feel weak. Firing a gun causes the gun to kick, sending a vibration through your bone structure similar to the sensation of bass sound. It's not about being realistic. It's about acheiving the desired response.


And that attitude is central to the problem.

Stop trying to contrive a response, and just be authentic.

Again, it ties into this whole notion of turning something like storytelling or game design into a formulaic, paint-by-numbers, press-this-button get-this response Skinnerian ****-show.

Cosi
2016-05-18, 09:13 PM
Out of curiosity, do you know where the image of throwing severed heads at the kings feet comes from? I see the image in a lot of media and have always wondered what it was referencing.

Maybe something biblical? A couple of people got "kill X heathens" quests at various points in the old testament, maybe one of them brought heads as proof? I think the mongols or someone put severed heads in piles when they captured cities.


This argument hinges on your statement that "People (in general) have fun by playing characters they want." If that were true, the argument would be convincing. But it's not universally true.

What? Why would a statement that literally says "in general" need to be universally generalizable to be useful?


Seriously, what is the point in trying to convince me that I didn't have fun in games I thought I enjoyed?

If you had paid attention, my point wasn't that you didn't have fun. It's that people in general don't notice why they enjoy (or don't enjoy) things. People are quite good at identifying the experience of fun, but very bad at figuring out what things are causing that experience. To the point that they will actually choose things that make them less happy.


Absolutely not. Please stop making up falsehoods about me. I have consistently said that I should have the fun I like, and you should have the fun you like. I enjoy 3.5e. I also enjoy games with random stat rolling. I have consistently enjoyed D&D for 41 years now. I'm the one saying that we should all enjoy it.

Fair enough. I must have misremembered.


I have never spoken against one kind of fun. I have always and consistently spoken in favor of everybody having the fun they want.

But that's not actually how it works. A game has to chose between point buy stats and rolled stats. Saying "do what you want" doesn't resolve that, and talking about how you enjoy one thing or the other doesn't advance the conversation.


"I have played bad games. Games aren't improving in general!" Mk.

I don't think there's particularly compelling evidence that games are improving. Most major game lines have gotten worse in their latest editions than they were in prior editions. Shadowrun 5e is worse than 4e. New World of Darkness was worse than Old World of Darkness. D&D 5e is worse than D&D 3e. Maybe there are new games that are good, but they are mostly obscure titles that no one cares about. Pathfinder is (I think) the most popular TTRPG in the world, and it is just some guy's houserules for a system that is old enough to drive.


Putting aside the giant pile of assumptions here (the existence of a level system, attempting to benchmark character wealth to character level, ability to translate character wealth to character power via items, so on and so forth), my point is that you have plenty of replayability without any of these things. The point of magic items in games like D&D isn't replayability, it's genre adherence and supporting the core design of the characters who grow dramatically in power.

How are you supposed to have a WBL system without wealth being benchmarked to level?

As far as genre emulation goes, I think random items do that pretty well actually. Consider The Hobbit. All the magic items in that story are random. The party randomly finds some Orc Bane weapons when they kill the trolls, Bilbo randomly finds a super-powerful magic item on Gollum, and Smaug's horde is a pile of random items the size of a Dragon. The only item that isn't random is the Arrow of Slaying Bard had as a part of his backstory.

Cluedrew
2016-05-18, 10:17 PM
But that's not actually how it works. A game has to chose between point buy stats and rolled stats. Saying "do what you want" doesn't resolve that, and talking about how you enjoy one thing or the other doesn't advance the conversation.But you can do that. I mean in most systems one method will receive more attention but that is not to say multiple methods can't be supported by a system well enough to work.

Lets say (in D&D) 3d6 in order simply would not work and you had to build from an array. Each step select you highest unassigned number from the array, roll a die and count down the stat line skipping over any stats you have assigned. For the first number you roll a d6, the second you roll a d5*, then d4, d3, d2 and the last you just assign to the last stat. Random generation using a stat array, that I whipped up in 5 minutes.

* Alternate rule because d5s are hard to find: roll a d6 and on six assign it opposite the first stat you assigned (STR is opposite INT, DEX/WIS & CON/CHA).


I don't think there's particularly compelling evidence that games are improving. Most major game lines have gotten worse in their latest editions than they were in prior editions. Shadowrun 5e is worse than 4e. New World of Darkness was worse than Old World of Darkness. D&D 5e is worse than D&D 3e.In my mind this for the most part is not a shift in quality, as a shift in goals. And unfortunately even if the system is well built if it's goals don't interest someone, they are not going to enjoy it.

kyoryu
2016-05-18, 10:45 PM
But that's not actually how it works. A game has to chose between point buy stats and rolled stats. Saying "do what you want" doesn't resolve that, and talking about how you enjoy one thing or the other doesn't advance the conversation.

What advances the conversation is understanding the various design goals that games might have, and whether a game might choose rolled/designed/assigned/optimized/whatever stats based on the design goals that it, in particular, has.

Democratus
2016-05-19, 08:15 AM
What advances the conversation is understanding the various design goals that games might have, and whether a game might choose rolled/designed/assigned/optimized/whatever stats based on the design goals that it, in particular, has.

We can certainly try to guess at the design goals of a system. But without a lot of discussion with the designers we are just extrapolating.

Still, always a fun exercise.

Earthwalker
2016-05-19, 09:21 AM
We can certainly try to guess at the design goals of a system. But without a lot of discussion with the designers we are just extrapolating.

Still, always a fun exercise.

It seems to me that game book are including sections where the authors state what they are trying to achieve with the game.

I don't mean for all games but conversations are happening, sometimes sections are included in the book saying this system is trying to...

This at least gives us an idea what people are aiming for.

Bohandas
2016-05-20, 01:51 AM
A game has to chose between point buy stats and rolled stats.


Not necessarily; You could roll for the point buy's baseline.

obryn
2016-05-20, 09:41 AM
Not necessarily; You could roll for the point buy's baseline.
You can also remove ability scores from the game altogether.

hymer
2016-05-20, 09:49 AM
You can also remove ability scores from the game altogether.

I'll play too; you could also require players to choose between fixed arrays.

grimsly
2016-05-20, 09:55 AM
I'll play too; you could also require players to choose between fixed arrays.

Ah, this one almost makes sense, you screwed it all up!

CharonsHelper
2016-05-20, 10:26 AM
I'll play too; you could also require players to choose between fixed arrays.

To continue the trend:

You could have abilities with different costs based upon the class. Ex: Warriors get Strength cheaper, Ninjas get Dexterity cheaper etc. (obviously wouldn't translate to rolls at all) It could even be a primary difference of the classes.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-20, 10:43 AM
To continue the trend:

You could have abilities with different costs based upon the class. Ex: Warriors get Strength cheaper, Ninjas get Dexterity cheaper etc. (obviously wouldn't translate to rolls at all) It could even be a primary difference of the classes.

Which would tend to exacerbate / exagerate the class-based issues, not alleviate them.

Cosi
2016-05-20, 11:20 AM
Not necessarily; You could roll for the point buy's baseline.

Uh, sure. There are a bunch of things you could do. You could not have attributes, you could have your race determine your entire attribute array, you could have your attributes be linked so STR + DEX was constant. But you actually do only one thing, whatever that thing is.

CharonsHelper
2016-05-20, 11:48 AM
Which would tend to exacerbate / exagerate the class-based issues, not alleviate them.

Did I say that it would alleviate them?

And I'm not talking about slapping that onto D&D (that would be terrible) I'm talking about a theoretical system which used that as part of the core game from the ground up. It could even be the primary difference between the classes in a mostly point-buy style character progression.

nedz
2016-05-20, 02:27 PM
Ah, this one almost makes sense, you screwed it all up!

You could have them roll for the coefficients of a sixth order polynomial, solve it, and use the roots of the equation as your stats. I fear I might be a bit short of players if I did this however.

Cluedrew
2016-05-21, 06:40 AM
Well that's the big question isn't it.

I would like to add: Having multiple editions without alienating old fans. A lot of non-table-top things also have this problem but I don't think it has been mentioned yet.

Jay R
2016-05-21, 08:20 AM
What? Why would a statement that literally says "in general" need to be universally generalizable to be useful?

Oh. Well, if you intended the conclusion to be that many games should be written and/or played with point buy for the majority, while some games should be written and/or played with random rolling for the fun that the minority enjoy, then we have no argument.

I admit that I didn't get that out of your final paragraph on my first reading. You seemed to be opposed to games with random rolling for stats. On a second reading, I see that it's not clear which you intended.

So:
1. If you are saying that the majority prefer having the extra control of point buy, so many games should have that, while some games should have random rolls for the other fun that the minority enjoy, then we are in complete agreement, and I withdraw my argument.

2. If you intended to say that all games should be written for point-buy, then yes, your antecedent needs to be universal.

Bohandas
2016-05-22, 05:47 PM
Great question. I suspect that there is no one source. It's certainly quite old.

A Biblical example is found in 2 Samuel 20:22, when the head of Sheba son of Bikri is thrown to Joab to mollify him and end a siege.

An early historical version is Chiomara, the wife of Orgiagon. She was taken as the spoils of war in the Galatian war in 189 B.C. When she returned home, she threw the head of her captor and ravisher at her husband's feet.

There are probably earlier mythological examples, and I'll feel stupid as soon as somebody reminds me of them.

I also suspect that it grew rapidly as a movie or TV trope, simply because it makes such a stunning visual.
It occurs in one version of the myth of Perseus and Medusa, in which it leads to the downfall of the king in question due to the deadly qualities of Medusa's head

Raimun
2016-05-22, 06:58 PM
I think the old school, dungeon crawling mentality is the bane of the hobby.

On paper, roleplaying games are supposed to be about taking control of a character and interacting with other characters of the game world. However, if all you do is walk around empty corridors that may or may not have traps (demanding a surprising amount of game time) and fight monsters (which are all, for one reason or another, effectively immune to talking), there's not much you can do to roleplay. Roleplaying party dynamics is fun but that can't always serve as the main event of conflict within the game. Also, in this model the random, standardized heroes the players control, seem to live in a vacuum, with no ties to the game world.

The worst part is that walking empty corridors is supposed to be roleplaying by alarmingly high number of game designers and players.

A non-parody movie or a book about a typical old school rpg-adventure would probably seem a bit boring and surreal.

kyoryu
2016-05-22, 08:27 PM
I think the old school, dungeon crawling mentality is the bane of the hobby.

Congratulations, you have an opinion!

Talking about a style of play that many people enjoy to this day as "the bane of the hobby" isn't particularly productive.

Cluedrew
2016-05-22, 09:09 PM
A non-parody movie or a book about a typical old school rpg-adventure would probably seem a bit boring and surreal.You could say something similar about chess, could you make an interesting movie about a chess game, or even an entire tournament, without mixing in all sorts of outside drama. I don't think you could. (Cue long dramatic music clip while the grand master plans his next move.)

Yet, many people participate in and observe these tournaments, so "would it make a good movie" is not the only measure of quality, especially counting the change of role from participant to observer that would go with that change.

As an aside I don't (or rarely do) enjoy dungeon crawls myself, but I do not believe there is anything inherently wrong with them. Shallow characterization of a fictional character may not be great, but it doesn't hurt anyone.

grimsly
2016-05-22, 09:10 PM
I think the old school, dungeon crawling mentality is the bane of the hobby.

On paper, roleplaying games are supposed to be about taking control of a character and interacting with other characters of the game world. However, if all you do is walk around empty corridors that may or may not have traps (demanding a surprising amount of game time) and fight monsters (which are all, for one reason or another, effectively immune to talking), there's not much you can do to roleplay. Roleplaying party dynamics is fun but that can't always serve as the main event of conflict within the game. Also, in this model the random, standardized heroes the players control, seem to live in a vacuum, with no ties to the game world.

The worst part is that walking empty corridors is supposed to be roleplaying by alarmingly high number of game designers and players.

A non-parody movie or a book about a typical old school rpg-adventure would probably seem a bit boring and surreal.

OK, I don't know what this has to do with the topic at hand, I can almost see how it sprung up from the conversation, but since it's been brought up...

Role-playing means playing a role, which is a truly useless term. Quarterback is a role, as is wizard. You're talking about play acting. Common mistake.

goto124
2016-05-23, 12:37 AM
The worst part is that walking empty corridors is supposed to be roleplaying by alarmingly high number of game designers and players.

Do people actually think it's roleplaying, as opposed to... what terms are suitable? Wargaming? Dungeonneering? Just playing for fun without much regard to in-game social stuff?

Comet
2016-05-23, 01:02 AM
I think the old school, dungeon crawling mentality is the bane of the hobby.
I feel like arguing, so I'm going to take your stance apart for a bit. Bear with me.


On paper, roleplaying games are supposed to be about taking control of a character and interacting with other characters of the game world.
Interacting with the game world, not just characters. There's much more to roleplaying a character than sitting in a tavern and going "what ho, ye olde barkeep, thou hast the finest ales in all the land!"


However, if all you do is walk around empty corridors that may or may not have traps
Some of them are empty, some of them are not. Also, traps force you to interact with the world and accept it as a real thing, because if you don't you die. Heck, you could even make traps that talk in riddles if you really want to stretch those Middle English muscles.


and fight monsters (which are all, for one reason or another, effectively immune to talking) there's not much you can do to roleplay.
Reaction checks are a thing, every single monster you run into can even be a potential ally if you get lucky and play your cards right.


Also, in this model the random, standardized heroes the players control, seem to live in a vacuum, with no ties to the game world.
To the contrary, these random, utterly non-standard and weirdly suboptimal heroes live in constant symbiosis with the game world. They breathe, see and hear every detail of their immediate surroundings, they learn to know it and they learn to control it. To do otherwise would be death. And they get rich, hire small armies to take with them and finally build great castles and magical towers to retire in. They are tied to the world and, ultimately, the world might become tied to them.


The worst part is that walking empty corridors is supposed to be roleplaying by alarmingly high number of game designers and players.
Why are these corridors empty in your mind? Things happen all the time and those things are dangerous and unpredictable enough to really make you pay attention in a way that talking in a fancy accent at your nearest inn just doesn't.


A non-parody movie or a book about a typical old school rpg-adventure would probably seem a bit boring and surreal.
These games aren't movies, they aren't books. They are worlds you step into and try to make work for yourself. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don't. Every time you have fun and roleplay and come up with fun personalities at a rapid pace until one character gets lucky and you get to develop that character further. There are no guarantees for happy endings or satisfying, fabricated story arcs so you really have to make every second count and roleplay your heart out before your character is lost. It's exciting stuff.

goto124
2016-05-23, 01:29 AM
One can have exciting stories of plucky heroes fighting against dangerous monsters and traps, but... wait, we seem to have entirely different ideas of what we're even talking about at all. What sort of interactions do you think go on in these games, other than "attack the monster" and "disarm/try to avoid the trap"?

In a world where the only appropriate actions are to "attack the monster" and "disarm/try to avoid the trap", how are personalities developed? Doesn't that make it more of a strategy game where one comes up with different sorts of strategies to deal with different monsters and traps? A game I do consider rather fun, but not one I would associate with roleplaying due to the lack of in-game social interaction?

runeghost
2016-05-23, 02:01 AM
- encumbrance rules: I'll defend encumbrance rules, but it's only when I want to be a bit of a troll. Basically, the GM never thinks about them and the players don't want to be bothered with any more arduous arithmetic than they are already burdened with. They only seem to come up when the GM wants to mess with his players for not bringing an army of manservants.

- Rolling for stats: now I'm fully aware that old school players didn't even know what cheating was, and were never bitter about anyone outshining their characters, and that far from blaming the GM for their character's untimely demise, they simply thanked them for the privilege of being at their table, but us sub forty types have issues with having the dice tell us what we're supposed to play, and having Jeff roll so many 18s every time we play.

Chiming in as an old grognard on this one: our default character creation method was a slight variant on the first method listed in the AD&D DMG. Roll 4d6 (drop the lowest) six times, arranged to taste. Reroll if you don't have at least two rolls >15.

No one ever got forced to play anything, although you couldn't always get the numbers for hard to qualify for subclasses like monks and paladins. (Some people liked to roll the dice in order, to spark ideas, but it wasn't required in most groups I played with.)

Comet
2016-05-23, 03:41 AM
One can have exciting stories of plucky heroes fighting against dangerous monsters and traps, but... wait, we seem to have entirely different ideas of what we're even talking about at all. What sort of interactions do you think go on in these games, other than "attack the monster" and "disarm/try to avoid the trap"?

In a world where the only appropriate actions are to "attack the monster" and "disarm/try to avoid the trap", how are personalities developed? Doesn't that make it more of a strategy game where one comes up with different sorts of strategies to deal with different monsters and traps? A game I do consider rather fun, but not one I would associate with roleplaying due to the lack of in-game social interaction?

You're right, we seem to be disagreeing on what old school means. It's a vague and big word and I'm sure this happens all the time. I like to think that old school boils down to: simple rules, a Game Master that is willing to play the dungeon as given and is not invested in the outcome and players who are willing to go along for the ride, do their best and not get upset if the ensuing story is unpredictable, asymmetric and sometimes even frustrating but with great potential rewards.

You can have all kinds of fun interactions and still play within a decidedly old school frame. You can sneak, climb, explore, solve puzzles, negotiate with monsters, hire people to help you and weigh risk and reward as you ponder what treasure is worth grabbing.

I mean, that sounds like roleplaying to me. Maybe your character is so deep in debt that he is willing to take insane risks for gold and endangers the whole party? Maybe your character is a pacifist that wants to get in and out without harming anyone, preferring to talk her way through and trick the silly goblins that guard the treasure? Is your character good at managing resources or does he prefer to hire a teamster to do that for him? Is your character okay with raiding an abandoned temple of a sun god or would she prefer to go to the other edge of the map and take on the ant-cultists of the Sand Pits? Is your character willing to die for this job or would he prefer to flee and fight another day?

Characters start out as disposable one-trick ponies, yes, but as you survive you can flesh that out and feel a real sense of reward as your character's experiences and the obstacles they face help to define them.

Cluedrew
2016-05-23, 06:09 AM
Do people actually think it's roleplaying, as opposed to... what terms are suitable? Wargaming? Dungeonneering? Just playing for fun without much regard to in-game social stuff?I've never heard anyone question that Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest are RPGs. And there you don't even have the "disarm traps" option of interacting with the world. Sure you can observe a lot of stuff going on, but you can't really interact with it besides beating down the monsters that spontaneously arise from the ground.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-23, 06:24 AM
I've never heard anyone question that Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest are RPGs. And there you don't even have the "disarm traps" option of interacting with the world. Sure you can observe a lot of stuff going on, but you can't really interact with it besides beating down the monsters that spontaneously arise from the ground.

I'll question the notion that some of those computer games are RPGs.

Somehow, "create a character and go kill stuff" became the definition of an "RPG".

Cazero
2016-05-23, 06:27 AM
I'll question the notion that some of those computer games are RPGs.

Somehow, "create a character and go kill stuff" became the definition of an "RPG".

So much this.
The word "role" implies the existence of a character upon whom you have some control, not a statblock with pre-recorded dialogue.

goto124
2016-05-23, 06:52 AM
I've never heard anyone question that Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest are RPGs. And there you don't even have the "disarm traps" option of interacting with the world. Sure you can observe a lot of stuff going on, but you can't really interact with it besides beating down the monsters that spontaneously arise from the ground.

I figured in a forum that has DnD and Fate and other TTRPGs, "roleplaying game" means a game where you're supposed to create characters, jump into their way of thinking, and act their resulting actions out (aka roleplaying), as opposed to the more layman usage of "RPG" elsewhere where it means "computer game in which you can kill monsters, improve your stats, get better weapons, and kill more monsters".

I play a lot of the latter type of RPG (let's call them CRPGs from now on) and love them through and through. However, the way they're typically played doesn't encourage the "get into your character's character" way of thinking that's very standard in the "roleplaying games" we typically deal with in GitP. When I play a CRPG such as Pokemon, I don't think "oh my pokemon trainer would only like Bug pokemon", I think "oh the next gym is Fire-type, I'd better look for Water-type pokemon". One could say my character would come to the same logical conclusion as I did, but here we're talking about the thought process - in the former I think about what my character would think, while in the latter I think about what is most optimal. You can roleplay in a CRPG, it's just not encouraged or rewarded for whatever reasons (maybe it's the lack of friends reacting to you roleplaying, maybe it's the computer being much less flexible than a GM and thus not responding in a way that encourages different/less optimal methods of doing things).

Cluedrew
2016-05-23, 07:12 AM
I'll question the notion that some of those computer games are RPGs.Really, I always counted them as very different kinds of roleplaying games/RPGs (different enough I usually reserve the short form for CRPGs), but not still under that same umbrella. I think it is because they are both games that focus heavily on narrative. Yes they tend to use it differently (less so now that computers are powerful enough to accommodate branching paths, and then there is railroad GMs) but they still use it a lot more than other types of games.


Somehow, "create a character and go kill stuff" became the definition of an "RPG".D&D would have to be radically changed or be supplanted in the public eye for that common definition to change.


So much this.
The word "role" implies the existence of a character upon whom you have some control, not a statblock with pre-recorded dialogue.This is sort of an aside but if the only way you have of expressing your character is... you might want to stretch things out a little. I say this is an aside because the RPGs (or perhaps "RPGs") that don't give you meaningful dialog choices rarely give you meaningful choices in other areas.

To goto124: You just snuck in but check my first paragraph, I do think the limitations of computers are very important.