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Mike_G
2008-05-14, 07:21 PM
Do mechanics really influence playstyle?

I mean, all that much?

I'd like to hear mostly from the grognards. How differently do you play 3e from 1e?

I've played since 1980, as have most of my current group. We're old, arthritic nerds, so we hang with other old, grey, arthritic nerds. Honestly we don't play nay differently than we did in older systems. We don't have Batman or Codzilla, or a "Build" planned for 20 levels before we name the character. We play Fighters for more than 4 levels, and sometimes even Monks. We use Sword and Board or Two weapons if we like the concept and it fits our idea for a character. We don't have four encounters per day, or assume exact WBL. We give noogies to anybody who thinks about the Spiked Chain or Armor Spikes.

I'm sure people do play the way 3e is characterized, and that's cool. But 3e doesn't force you to play that way.

We like not having the awful 1e rules like racial level caps, and not dealing with incompatible systems within systems, like the AD&D Pummeling chart, so for us, D20 makes us happy.

It just seems that a number of posters seem to feel that having consistent rules for stuff makes players into rules lawyering munchkins who demand the DM dance for them.

I think playstyle is much less influenced by mechanics than the AD&Defenders seem to want to believe.

Matthew
2008-05-14, 07:36 PM
Heh, I thought a thread like this might be on the way. :smallwink:

The short answer is that I do think mechanics influence playstyle, not so much for experienced players, but certainly for people who are 'cutting their teeth' on an RPG.

Stuff like feats, skills, squares, non simultaneous movement, CR tables, wealth by level charts, inherent imbalances between character classes, lengthy, discrete and closed rule systems do seem to encourage a mode of thinking that then influences playstyle. The epitomy for me is perhaps "You enter a 10' x 10' room", "Okay, I search each 5' Square wilst taking 20'.

D20 is designed to encourage and reward 'rules mastery' and it succeeds on both counts.

Mike_G
2008-05-14, 07:55 PM
I knew I could count on you.


Heh, I thought a thread like this might be on the way. :smallwink:

The short answer is that I do think mechanics influence playstyle, not so much for experienced players, but certainly for people who are 'cutting their teeth' on an RPG.


Possibly. That's why I wanted to knwo if your style changed through the editions (other than hopefully becoming more mature over the years). It would be interetsting to know how the average new gamer plays differently as well, I suppose.



Stuff like feats, skills, squares, non simultaneous movement, CR tables, wealth by level charts, inherent imbalances between character classes, lengthy, discrete and closed rule systems do seem to encourage a mode of thinking that then influences playstyle.


See. I like feats and skills. They're ways for non spellcasters to do stuff other than roll to hit. I agree they could have been done better, but I like the concept of having Improved Disarm as a feat, if that fits your character. I had a Paladin who took it, because he'd rather capture and redeem you than kill you. Disarming in AD&D was asking my DM to glare at me and snarl "Oh just roll percentile, I guess!" and make come crap up.

CR tables and WBL are guidelines, and nice in theory. There should be some way to gauge how much stuff a 10th level PC should have, and what;s appropriate. It's nice for a new DM.

And I like consistent rules.



The epitomy for me is perhaps "You enter a 10' x 10' room", "Okay, I search each 5' Square wilst taking 20'.

D20 is designed to encourage and reward 'rules mastery' and it succeeds on both counts.

OK, for me, I see two layers. The Roleplaying layer, where you say what your character does, and the mechanics layer that the DM uses to arbitrate those actions.

In our group we have "A cynical ex soldier in the Royal army who chafed under the rules and struck out on his own" Not a Fighter1/Warblade6/Lion Totem Barbarian 3 who will take his next 3 levels in Ranger before Prc'ing to....

We'd say "I search the crap out of this room. That damn kobold must've gotten out somehow."

This is all I know of gaming.

I'd like to hear from somebody who actually plans his Batman list out for exactly four encounters per day, and threatens the DM if he doesn't get WBL in treasure.

bosssmiley
2008-05-14, 07:57 PM
I've played since 1980, as have most of my current group. We're old, arthritic nerds, so we hang with other old, grey, arthritic nerds.

*1989, so shows due grognard gnollengrom to Mike_G* :smallwink:

Mechanics influencing playstyle? (good question) Yes and no (cop out answer :smallredface: )


"Yes" in the sense of the 3rd Ed rules lending themselves to flashy, high-power action scenes in a way that earlier editions perhaps sometimes didn't. For example, compare early edition level drain to 3rd Ed version. What player in their right mind would go toe-to-toe with a wight, vampire or other level drainer back in the day? Now - between restoration and the 'two bites of the cherry' negative level rule - there's much less systemic punishment of genre-appropriate heroic action.

More generally the "Yes" answer still holds. I don't play D&D3 the way I play CoC, or FS, or WFRP, or Hong Kong Action Theatre. The play style is always influenced by the question of what will work for the character within the constraints of the game world, as modelled by the given system. HKAT, for example, lends itself to (and actively rewards) mad, overblown stunt work and "Rule of Cool" gestures. WFRP or CoC...not so much. What works in the former would look ridiculous - and be immersion-breaking - in the other two. I suppose it comes down to what the game incentivises and rewards. :smallconfused:

"No", in the sense of the system constraining you to a particular play style. You *can* still run sewer crawls, noir-ish, horror or low fantasy stuff in D&D3, just by keeping the characters short of the expected WBL curve given in the DMG, or by upping the CR of the opposition. It's not part of the RAW, but the potential is there.

Of course, an attitude that "Well, the rules are more guidelines really" (after Cptn Barbossa) always helps. Once I've mastered a game system I'm terrible for constantly tinkering with it until it fits my preferred style of play (a little pulpy, with added swashbucklery bits and awesome affect (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CrowningMomentOfAwesome) for colour). The RAW are not sacrosanct and will be merrily panel beaten into a more useful form when required. :smallamused:

To veer off on a tangent here (as I do so often and so [email protected] well!):

I suppose it all boils down to what the expectations of the players are. No player likes seeing their character suck, fail, lose or die pathetically: almost everyone plays to play a hero. If you have players who've been raised on the (almost wholly) adversarial and goal-oriented MMORPG (PvM or PVP) model before coming to D&D I can see where the stereotype of the out-to-win munchkin rules lawyer with their optimised game-breaking 'build', the type who regards the GM (rather than the BBEG) as his opponent, would arise. Goodness knows, I've seen the type myself. They usually turn into half-decent gamers once they adjust their existing genre knowledge to the style required by a new (to them) medium.

Rules written in a cut-and-dried pseudo-legalese, ones that require fewer DM judgement calls than older rulesets, seem to give rules lawyer types carte blanche to wave the (flawed) RAW about as the Word of God. But that's not exactly a problem exclusive to the newer editions, is it? Some people just need Rule 0 cited to them again and again until it sinks in. :smallamused:


We give noogies to anybody who thinks about the Spiked Chain or Armor Spikes.

Wedgies for double weapons myself. :smallbiggrin:

Kvenulf
2008-05-14, 08:01 PM
As another old fogey who started about the same time as you did (getting old, can't remember exact date), I am glad to see others around here.

Personally, I think playersmake more of a difference than mechanics. Some people will rules-lawyer the original "Paranoia", and can munchkin in "Call of Cthulhu". Others can play any system reasonably, w/o doing either.

3e does reward this sort of behaviour, but I refuse to.

Matthew
2008-05-14, 08:22 PM
I knew I could count on you.

Happy to serve.



Possibly. That's why I wanted to know if your style changed through the editions (other than hopefully becoming more mature over the years). It would be interetsting to know how the average new gamer plays differently as well, I suppose.

Right, gotcha. Yes, my style started to change when I started playing D20. At first we tried playing it as though it was AD&D, but we ran into problems that had just never cropped up before and started using a 'battle map' (honestly, I quite like visual dungeon representations), combat became more of a mechanical and uninspired chore, I found I was visualising what was on the table instead of the action in my head. Don't get me wrong, we used miniatures and counters sometimes before D20, but they were never the crutch they felt like in D20.



See. I like feats and skills. They're ways for non spellcasters to do stuff other than roll to hit. I agree they could have been done better, but I like the concept of having Improved Disarm as a feat, if that fits your character. I had a Paladin who took it, because he'd rather capture and redeem you than kill you. Disarming in AD&D was asking my DM to glare at me and snarl "Oh just roll percentile, I guess!" and make come crap up.

Yeah, I get that, but I hate them. It's the 'build' and 'character resource' management stuff that really drives me up the wall with D20. I spent so much time fiddling on with feats and skills to get them to do what I wanted them to, and when I realised I could just over rule the rules and have them do what I wanted, then I realised there was no point in having them at all. Castles & Crusades really helped me see that a lot more clearly.

Players seem a lot more insistant that I include new rules from books they have just bought for D20 and they sometimes seem really overexcited about the prospect of level advancement. I see that as symptomatic of D20, even when we were in our early teens we never expected the rate of advancement that seems to be normal now. That's something that I think is encouraged by the way the rules are set up, though it was obviously a trend in prior editions as well (though if somebody started telling me about their 20th level character I usually marked them as a munchkin).



CR tables and WBL are guidelines, and nice in theory. There should be some way to gauge how much stuff a 10th level PC should have, and what;s appropriate. It's nice for a new DM.

I agree, but I think it's a fly trap. People grow reliant on guidelines as though they are rules. Not everyone, but it happens. I don't need them and I don't want somebody having false expectations as to what is 'normal', nor do I want to buy adventure modules that assume such huge amounts of wealth (this was, admittedly, also a problem in AD&D, but I think the extent of the problem was substantially lower).



And I like consistent rules.

Me too, but not necessarily interdependent rules. I should probably mention that I think critical hits are a terrible idea. :smallwink:



OK, for me, I see two layers. The Roleplaying layer, where you say what your character does, and the mechanics layer that the DM uses to arbitrate those actions.

In our group we have "A cynical ex soldier in the Royal army who chafed under the rules and struck out on his own" Not a Fighter1/Warblade6/Lion Totem Barbarian 3 who will take his next 3 levels in Ranger before Prc'ing to....

We'd say "I search the crap out of this room. That damn kobold must've gotten out somehow."

This is all I know of gaming.

Fair enough. That's how we used to play in Hero Quest and I am sure we did it in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, as well as Dungeons & Dragons. I recently had a D20 player ask me if he could 'take ten' in a cavern he was searching. It took a little while for me to explain why not. :smallwink:

Farmer42
2008-05-14, 08:39 PM
Edit: For a summary of my post, look at the first lone or so of bosssmiley's spoilered section.


I'm not really a grognard and have nowhere near the experience as you guys, but I'm one of those gamers who collects different systems and plays a little bit of everything, and I agree with Matthew about the game systems influencing beginning players.

3.5 was my first ruleset. I started playing three years ago, after stumbling upon a game while getting some food after football practice. Later that year I was introduced to V:tM, my second ruleset and in that game we had the ST (Who played many different systems but mainly 3.5) myself, another freshaman friend playing in his second RPG, and a third who had started with Vampire. You could see th difference inour approaches to characters and our goals and how we expected those to come through. the two of us who were new to gaming in general basically tried the most random things we could think of at times (no so strange considering my char was an 8th gen Malk...) while the experienced WoD player was much more paced and organized.

Recently I was introduced to HERO5e by the experienced oWoD player and I've found that I absolutely love the system. Now, what I have learned from these and the various one offs and demos I've played since I started gaming and attending GenCon is that there are vastly different play styles, and that often the system encourages certain play styles and how you learned to play RPGs in general will influence how you play, even after becoming a more experienced gamer. OWoD players tend to slightly paranoid, Paranoia players even more so ("Dude...somethings watching us...""Erm...who are you and how'd you get into my hotel room?"), but each style of gamer brings something new to the table.

What I found truly fascinating was that my gaming group's version of Josh is only a CharOp nut in 3.5 He like the rules for HERO, GURPS, and V:tM but he doesn't powerbuild in those systems, despite the relative ease of doing so, especially in HERO.

Jayabalard
2008-05-14, 11:39 PM
Do mechanics really influence playstyle?Yes, but I think that it's mostly the mechanics of the first system, or first few systems that someone plays.

So people that start off playing systems that have a rule for every situation, and reward you for rules lawyering are more likely to worship the holy RAW than someone who started off playing a looser, less defined system.

Reel On, Love
2008-05-14, 11:57 PM
We'd say "I search the crap out of this room. That damn kobold must've gotten out somehow."

This is all I know of gaming.

I'd like to hear from somebody who actually plans his Batman list out for exactly four encounters per day, and threatens the DM if he doesn't get WBL in treasure.

I plan my Batman list to last as long as possible--nobody really assumes every day must have four and exactly four encounters. I don't threaten the DM if we don't get WBL (my last game was in the Dark Sun setting, and we were way short), but if it's consistently too low/high, I'll point that out to make sure it's intentional.

I'd say "I search the crap out of this room. that damn kobold must've gotten out somehow." And then add, to the DM, "I'll take 20 on each square."

Cainen
2008-05-15, 01:15 AM
Do mechanics really influence playstyle?

Frankly, yes. They do. I'll say it first - I've never been a fan of using tightly-woven mechanics, and instead just prefer to use the system of choice's success resolution when it's called for - it's more work for the GM, sure, but it also makes the game much more enjoyable.

See, to use an example that has been used before - there's a difference between "Rathos observes the trap mechanism for a quarter of a minute, then breaks the silence by wedging a steel spike in an exposed gear" and "I roll 1d20+8 for Disable Device."

Looser or even nonexistent mechanics will engender a different style of play than mechanics for every occurence under the sun. If you're not using every rule in the 3.X books, that's fine - but remember, you can do that with any other system too, and some don't even require that kind of change from their standard.

There's a noticable amount of difference between the amount of rules for 2E and the amount of rules in 3E, and there's a noticable difference in quality - many, MANY 1E and 2E rules were just bad, and often were tossed out. Because of that, a lot of things in the older editions came down to working things out with the GM one-on-one, no dice involved - that's considerably different from what usually happens in 3E.

Does it mean you can't run 3E like I'd prefer it to? No, it doesn't.

Does it mean that the average 3E game runs like I'd prefer it to? Definitely not.


I'd like to hear mostly from the grognards. How differently do you play 3e from 1e?

I'm not technically a grognard - too young for it - but I certainly do prefer how I played 2E to how I've been playing 3E. Not every group is accepting of every playstyle. And as a matter of fact, my playstyle differs vastly between the two - I don't recall a single 2E GM making me touch the dice if it was unnecessary. It's sort of an unspoken law that you'd play things out without rolling unless you were in combat. In every single 3E game I've played in to date... I've made more rolls for each game - individually! - than I made in several 2E games put together. Checks for spot, checks for listen, checks for move silently, checks for spellcraft, checks for diplomacy, etcetera... Often, I make checks for things that can be handled more gracefully by a tiny bit of elbow grease.

It's a wholly different experience, and frankly, I don't appreciate it when the common train of thought is heading the other way.


I'm sure people do play the way 3e is characterized, and that's cool. But 3e doesn't force you to play that way.

It doesn't mean it's not encouraging you to do it, either, and it also doesn't mean that the system is style-neutral. Your preferred style of play may not even be compatible with your gaming group, and that can cause even MORE problems.


We like not having the awful 1e rules like racial level caps, and not dealing with incompatible systems within systems, like the AD&D Pummeling chart, so for us, D20 makes us happy.

Completely understandable. I'm not too fond of Castles & Crusades because it still has holdover problems while retaining a lot of what I prefer not to deal with from d20. I don't think either of the AD&D systems were perfect, though. In fact, this brings me to a point. Many of the 2E players I had known had houseruled the system so it played better, and as a result had managed to grab onto a system they enjoyed. 3E was more of a replacement than an upgrade, and not every change was good. Mechanically, there was no reason to switch... but they weren't going to get any new material and they weren't going to have any decent number of new people who wanted to play with them, among other things.


It just seems that a number of posters seem to feel that having consistent rules for stuff makes players into rules lawyering munchkins who demand the DM dance for them.

It's not consistent rules that are the problem. It's rules for everything under the sun, which is the key difference between what you're perceiving and what I - and what many other players - mean.

Reel On, Love
2008-05-15, 01:18 AM
See, to use an example that has been used before - there's a difference between "Rathos observes the trap mechanism for a quarter of a minute, then breaks the silence by wedging a steel spike in an exposed gear" and "I roll 1d20+8 for Disable Device."
Why is Rathos so sure that that won't trigger the trap or make it explode in his face?
What about magical traps?

(Why does a trap have exposed gears anyway?)

Cainen
2008-05-15, 01:24 AM
Suspension of disbelief, of course.

Charity
2008-05-15, 01:57 AM
*settles in with his pipe and slippers*

Now just to go against what all my respected peers have said. I have played a lot of different games, probably 20 odd differant rule sets and I'm going to have to say I don't think the rules do influnce play style. You know I can't help myself Matt...
I will add though that I am not sure I'm on board with what is being described here as play style. Taking a 20 searching isn't a playstyle it's a character action. I view play style to be more the roleplay/hack'n'slash mix, the amount of description you use for your character actions and event resolution, the amount of character interaction/player interaction.

All of these things I have found to vary much more with personel than system, some of my friends are happy to rant for two hours in a mockney accent about the cost of rope these days, others just want to hand over the cash and leave town so they can wade knee deep in orc guts.

Jimp
2008-05-15, 06:25 AM
The only way in which mechanics have influenced my playstyle would be the ability they give me to represent a character concept. If the mechanics give me the chance to make a concept particularly effective or they give me an idea for a concept then I'll go for it. Otherwise I'll just find another way to make the concept work.
I'm lucky though in that my IRL group is pretty experienced and knows when the crank the power level up or down depending on the party and on making everyone in the party feel useful by getting to use their abilities. In this respect there has never really been an over dependence on mechanical efficiency.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 07:49 AM
I'm not too fond of Castles & Crusades because it still has holdover problems while retaining a lot of what I prefer not to deal with from d20.

Yeah, I hear that sometimes. I think is best expressed as "I don't like the stuff they kept from AD&D or the stuff they introduced from D20". My biggest gripe is the 'Siege' engine, but I also know that said engine is a huge draw for former D20 players. Fortunately, the Siege engine is very easily removed from the game with virtually no repercussions [i.e. it is not an interdependent part of the rule set].



I will add though that I am not sure I'm on board with what is being described here as play style.

That sounds like we need to define 'play style'. :smallwink:



Taking a 20 searching isn't a playstyle it's a character action.

Absolutely true. However, how the DM handles searching a room is subject to play style. D20 encourages its mechanisation, whilst AD&D is more neutral on the subject, encouraging direct interaction with the environment as a means to resolving a task.

Charity
2008-05-15, 08:35 AM
D20 could and does accommodate situational modifiers +2 to your search for mentioning the chandelier in your search. lower DC if you say you are emptying out the plantpots in the conservatory etc, it needn't be mechanical, and you could just as easily make it mechanical in any system. 'We turn the room upside down searching everything' rinse, repeat.

I do recognise where you are coming from, (well to some degree) any game that has a skill system which is closely defined and has narrow skill sets can prompt people to shortcut through the often repeated checks. Thing is, I'm not sure thats a bad thing, if you have to describe every action in minute detail it can ruin the character interaction with players just listing actions to hit certain keywords.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 08:40 AM
Of course (you don't need to remind me about circumstance modifiers :smallwink:), but I think the very idea of a numerically systemised methodology is a problem. There's a great example in the 3e DMG that illustrates this point, I will see if I can find it.

Found it. DMG, p. 32.



General versus Specific

Sometimes a player will say, “I look around the room. Do I see anything?” and sometimes she’ll say, “I look into the room, knowing that I just saw a kobold dart inside. I look behind the chair and the table, and in all the dark corners. Do I see it?” In both cases, the DM replies, “Make a Spot check.” However, in
the second example, the character has specialized knowledge of the situation. She’s asking specific questions. In such cases, always award the character a +2 bonus for favorable conditions. It’s good to reward a character who has knowledge that allows her to ask specific questions.


The way I play, if the Kobold is hiding behind a chair and the player explicitly looks behind the chair he will find the Kobold. That is to say, the Kobold isn't abstractly hiding in the room.



Thing is, I'm not sure thats a bad thing, if you have to describe every action in minute detail it can ruin the character interaction with players just listing actions to hit certain keywords.

Very true, and some level of mechanisation is useful, but it shouldn't be the primary method of task resolution (at least not for me). Why bother figuring out how a trap works when you can just use a skill to disarm or bypass it? Of course, it obviously depends what you want out of the game.

SamTheCleric
2008-05-15, 08:43 AM
The way I play, if the Kobold is hiding behind a chair and the player explicitly looks behind the chair he will find the Kobold.

Well, since the kobold no longer has cover or concealment relative to the target, he can't be hiding... so you would find the kobold.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 08:48 AM
Well, since the kobold no longer has cover or concealment relative to the target, he can't be hiding... so you would find the kobold.

Great example of what I don't like about D20. I don't need concealment rules to tell me that a Kobold who has no cover to hide behind is visible to a player character (given sufficient light, of course :smallwink:). He either is, or he isn't. To put it another way, the cumbersome systemisation of the game is what I object to.

A sleeping character stabbed by an assassin (not the prestige class) should not be subject to a 'coup de grace', he should be automatically killed (barring some miracle or deus ex machina).

Rutee
2008-05-15, 08:59 AM
Isn't Hide or Stealth supposed to be dynamic? The Kobold doesn't wait to be found, but rather attempts to move around the chair to keep from being found? I prefer modifying dice rolls based on wording (And definitely hate the idea of Dungeon Crawling left to GM discretion; I am not a mechanical engineer. I am not a trapsmith. Why in the name of the Gods would I want to rely on /my/ knowledge of things I generally have no clue about the inner workings of? My character almost certainly knows more about that crap then me) I generally prefer to modify dice rolls based on spiffy ideas or good description.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 09:12 AM
Isn't Hide or Stealth supposed to be dynamic? The Kobold doesn't wait to be found, but rather attempts to move around the chair to keep from being found?

There surely must be some degree of that assumed (though in an action by action environment there are problems to adjudication), the degree depends on the level of abstraction you desire. Certainly, any die result can be explained away, but the point is that D20 encourages 'dice resolution' over 'environmental interaction.'



I prefer modifying dice rolls based on wording (And definitely hate the idea of Dungeon Crawling left to GM discretion; I am not a mechanical engineer. I am not a trapsmith. Why in the name of the Gods would I want to rely on /my/ knowledge of things I generally have no clue about the inner workings of? My character almost certainly knows more about that crap then me) I generally prefer to modify dice rolls based on spiffy ideas or good description.

It is definitely a preferential thing, and I am not advocating one approach over another (except as regarding my own preference). To explain, traps and such things are designed to be 'puzzled out' for game purposes, so you don't actually need to know anything about traps to 'solve' them. Just like you don't usually have to be good at 'riddles' to figure them out. Mind, I'm not saying there should be no consideration of character at all. If the player of the Rogue decides to do something 'crazy' with regard to a trap, the DM (after a roll if preferred) could tell him "Talus doesn't think that is likely to work".

Charity
2008-05-15, 09:27 AM
The way I play, if the Kobold is hiding behind a chair and the player explicitly looks behind the chair he will find the Kobold. That is to say, the Kobold isn't abstractly hiding in the room.

What have we told you about using up the nations precious reserves of 'common sense' on something as frivilous as a game.


Very true, and some level of mechanisation is useful, but it shouldn't be the primary method of task resolution (at least not for me). Why bother figuring out how a trap works when you can just use a skill to disarm or bypass it? Of course, it obviously depends what you want out of the game.

I think a happy medium is of course preferable, but harking back to my original point, I think it is very much the players (and to some extent their experiance) not the game that dictate how these things actually end up working. The game mechanics do what I want not the other way round.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 09:51 AM
I think a happy medium is of course preferable, but harking back to my original point, I think it is very much the players (and to some extent their experiance) not the game that dictate how these things actually end up working. The game mechanics do what I want not the other way round.

Indeed, but that doesn't prevent the mechanics encouraging or enabling a particular style of play over another. The group dynamic is always more important than the rules, but the rules have their effect. If they are poor servants, then their service will be poor.

hamlet
2008-05-15, 10:00 AM
Isn't Hide or Stealth supposed to be dynamic? The Kobold doesn't wait to be found, but rather attempts to move around the chair to keep from being found? I prefer modifying dice rolls based on wording (And definitely hate the idea of Dungeon Crawling left to GM discretion; I am not a mechanical engineer. I am not a trapsmith. Why in the name of the Gods would I want to rely on /my/ knowledge of things I generally have no clue about the inner workings of? My character almost certainly knows more about that crap then me) I generally prefer to modify dice rolls based on spiffy ideas or good description.

Yeah, having a mechanic to cover things that you have no clue about is kind of nice at times I suppose. But here's the thing: in my experience, when there's a mechanic at the end result that comes down to a dice roll or a chart or something, nine out of ten players will skip past it all and jump right to the roll and call it done. They MIGHT pay lip service to "I check under the table, behind the chairs, under the bed . . ." but in my experience, most don't even bother with that.

At the same time, while I don't know squat about mechanical engineering, I think I'm smart enough to make educated guesses about how a mechanical trap might present itself. Suspicious looking holes or slots. Exposed gears in a random place. A bit of something that looks loose or might slide away. I don't have to have an engineering degree to figure this stuff out, I just need to stop and think about it for a moment and, if all else fails, resort to "I poke it with my 10 foot pole and see what happens."

The problem with comprehensive integrated mechanics is, as Matthew pointed out, that things almost always end up boiling down to "roll the dice, get better than a 17" rather than having the player (and by extension, the character) interact with the world beyond the dice.

Another example that always bugged the snot out of me was the little set of skills "Gather Information" "Sense Motive" and "Bluff." All three of those were, IMO, the exclusive realm of character interaction and needed no mechanics. I tried, at one point a while ago, to run D&D 3.x and came to a point where an NPC gave the characters a bit of information. One of the players suspected he was lying (he was) and immediately demanded a sense motive check and asked "do I think he's lying?". My immediate response (after mastering the urge to smack the guy) was to say "I don't know, do you think he's lying?"

I see absolutely no reason to have codified rules for character social interaction. That's the "role" part of "roleplay." Yes, you can make the argument that your player might have the 18 charisma while you have, perhaps, a 9, but all that takes is saying so to the DM and asking that he take it into consideration.

Charity
2008-05-15, 10:26 AM
The only way to prevent mechanical intervention from the rules is to have no rules, I guess if you go entirely systemless it would force a discursive style of play but it still wouldn't prevent the repetition of lists of actions to reproduce results...
:smallyuk:
I'll try saying that in a way I can understand when I re-read it.
I think in extremis, rules can influence gameplay, if there simply is not a skill system then of course the players will have to be more descriptive; but it will not prevent the mechanical repetition of those descriptions by players of actions that have been seen to have been successful. They will to all intents and purposes be taking a twenty in a long winded and verbose manner.

I agree that mechanics can be aggrivating and counter-intuative, but I'm not sure they can influence the way you approach a game...
Well if they influence other folk around here I guess they must, I just haven't really experianced as much myself.

fendrin
2008-05-15, 10:50 AM
I'm not a grognard per se, but I started with acting (don't you dare tell me improv isn't roleplaying), then 11 (or so) years ago I started playing D&D. It was of course, AD&D 2e. Much fun was had. Then 3e came out, and much fun was had. Same with 3.5. I've tried Alternity, A few homebrew systems, d6, HERO (5e?), TriStat, Serenity RPG, Fuzion, Mekton Zeta, and more. I also participate in LARPs of various levels of free-forminess (everything form 'Rock-Scissors-Paper makes all determinations' to 'you have a 4 page character sheet with two dozen stats and special abilities, equipment cards, and a little clear plastic bubble with 2d6 in it').

I've had fun with most of those systems. Have they changed how I play the game? Of course, but not much. I describe my actions, then use the mechanics to find out what happens. Two interrelated but not interdependent halves of one whole. If a DM lets a player get away with 'I take 20 to search the room', that is a fault of the DM, not of the gaming system.

Seriously, folks, in the grand schema of roleplaying systems, AD&D 2e and d20 are more similar than they are different. AD&D 2e is not all that freeform or rules-light, and 3.5 is not all that complex or rules-heavy.

hamlet
2008-05-15, 10:57 AM
The only way to prevent mechanical intervention from the rules is to have no rules, I guess if you go entirely systemless it would force a discursive style of play but it still wouldn't prevent the repetition of lists of actions to reproduce results...
:smallyuk:
I'll try saying that in a way I can understand when I re-read it.
I think in extremis, rules can influence gameplay, if there simply is not a skill system then of course the players will have to be more descriptive; but it will not prevent the mechanical repetition of those descriptions by players of actions that have been seen to have been successful. They will to all intents and purposes be taking a twenty in a long winded and verbose manner.

I agree that mechanics can be aggrivating and counter-intuative, but I'm not sure they can influence the way you approach a game...
Well if they influence other folk around here I guess they must, I just haven't really experianced as much myself.

I never advocated removing all rules, merely minimizing them.

In terms of social interaction, I don't want or need a set of rules telling me how character gather information or determine if somebody is lying. That can be played out without a single roll of the dice and done so far more effectively and engagingly.

However, if it came to the point where a mechanic is neccessary, AD&D had one. It was called Charisma and the ability check. It took up . . . 1 page of text whereas 3.x's version takes up something on the order of 4 times that, perhaps more.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 10:59 AM
I think in extremis, rules can influence gameplay, if there simply is not a skill system then of course the players will have to be more descriptive; but it will not prevent the mechanical repetition of those descriptions by players of actions that have been seen to have been successful.

Perhaps, perhaps not. Certainly, players will likely establish verbally signified procedures for dealing with common hazards, but I view that as more 'fun' than describing what game mechanics you will use. I would rather hear "Talus takes a look down the passage with an eye for traps or secret doors" than "Talus takes twenty on a spot check, that's 31."



They will to all intents and purposes be taking a twenty in a long winded and verbose manner.

Well, no, it's not a play. :smallwink: Hopefully, they will be about as concise as 'I take 20 and search each 5' Square of the room.' If a probability needs to be determined or roll is required it should usually be much quicker than the D20 approach.



I agree that mechanics can be aggrivating and counter-intuative, but I'm not sure they can influence the way you approach a game...
Well if they influence other folk around here I guess they must, I just haven't really experianced as much myself.

It is hard to generalise. All I know is that they did begin to affect my style of play, but I do see that reflected elsewhere.



If a DM lets a player get away with 'I take 20 to search the room', that is a fault of the DM, not of the gaming system.

Only if the DM knows better can it be his fault. The game ought to tell him how to run the game, which it does. He cannot then be faulted for playing the game as presented.



Seriously, folks, in the grand schema of roleplaying systems, AD&D 2e and d20 are more similar than they are different. AD&D 2e is not all that freeform or rules-light, and 3.5 is not all that complex or rules-heavy.

Of course, but they are different enough for someone to prefer one over the other, and they do emphasise different play style methodologies. Seriously, it's not helpful to say AD&D and D20 are more similar to one another than they are to Spirit of the Century, that's a given. Does that make one absolutely better or worse than the other? Of course not, but recognition of their differences between systems and their interpretation helps us to understand why people prefer one over another.

To put it another way, the premise of this discussion is that they are very mechanically similar games, the question is why are they then different and why do they seem to be played differently (or indeed are they really played differently?).

It's kind of like trying to explain why I think the original Star Wars trilogy is better than the second Star Wars trilogy. Sure, they're more similar to one another than they are to Star Trek, but they are different enough for me to not really want to watch the second trilogy (or accept that it exists :smallbiggrin:).

Rutee
2008-05-15, 11:11 AM
Yeah, having a mechanic to cover things that you have no clue about is kind of nice at times I suppose. But here's the thing: in my experience, when there's a mechanic at the end result that comes down to a dice roll or a chart or something, nine out of ten players will skip past it all and jump right to the roll and call it done. They MIGHT pay lip service to "I check under the table, behind the chairs, under the bed . . ." but in my experience, most don't even bother with that.
My experience is frankly the reverse.


At the same time, while I don't know squat about mechanical engineering, I think I'm smart enough to make educated guesses about how a mechanical trap might present itself. Suspicious looking holes or slots. Exposed gears in a random place. A bit of something that looks loose or might slide away. I don't have to have an engineering degree to figure this stuff out, I just need to stop and think about it for a moment and, if all else fails, resort to "I poke it with my 10 foot pole and see what happens."
If it's that easy to find, it's not a very good trap.


The problem with comprehensive integrated mechanics is, as Matthew pointed out, that things almost always end up boiling down to "roll the dice, get better than a 17" rather than having the player (and by extension, the character) interact with the world beyond the dice.
No, that's the problem with comprehensive mechanics when you only play the mechanics.


Another example that always bugged the snot out of me was the little set of skills "Gather Information" "Sense Motive" and "Bluff." All three of those were, IMO, the exclusive realm of character interaction and needed no mechanics. I tried, at one point a while ago, to run D&D 3.x and came to a point where an NPC gave the characters a bit of information. One of the players suspected he was lying (he was) and immediately demanded a sense motive check and asked "do I think he's lying?". My immediate response (after mastering the urge to smack the guy) was to say "I don't know, do you think he's lying?"
I never understood this. Why would you roll only for combat, of all things? Notwithstanding that DnD mechanics devalue interpersonal reaction, do you think that combat is somehow less difficult then dealing with people in an intricate sense?


I see absolutely no reason to have codified rules for character social interaction. That's the "role" part of "roleplay." Yes, you can make the argument that your player might have the 18 charisma while you have, perhaps, a 9, but all that takes is saying so to the DM and asking that he take it into consideration.

To be quite charitable to my fellow players, I'm more concerned about when the player has 12 Cha. and the character has 20 or 30. I deal in larger then life games; There is absolutely no way for the players to have anywhere near the skill of the characters.

hamlet
2008-05-15, 12:21 PM
Rutee: I'm not going to do a line by line, those kinds of posts get bothersome.

Your experience with d20 is obviously different than mine. I don't know why that is. Maybe it's because I've only managed to find the worst d20 players around (and, indeed, they tend to be pretty awful in my neck of the woods, to the point of parody actually), or maybe it's just that in my area, all of the "good" players prefer the older or more esoteric systems like AD&D or Arduin. I don't know. But my experience with 3.x and d20 has been (with the exception of Star Wars which does freakishly well under d20) universally bad.

I do think that, as a whole, the d20 system encourages a more mechanically minded game and play style. All the options and choices are lined up for you along with the implications and you choose from among them. In my experience, character actions are more often motivated largely or entirely based on mechanical benefit rather than character development. It feels more and more, to me, like I'm playing a board game with an RP element than I am playing a role playing game. It even pervades character creation where character choices without mechanical benefits/drawbacks are less good than ones that involve some kind of bonus. I will never understand that.

On the other hand, I see AD&D and its ilk, with their dearth of concrete situational rules, as encouraging a more improvisational, situational kind of style and one that is less concerned with the "how" of things getting done and more concerned with the "what." As in my example with the social skills from 3.x, a 2nd edition player would, upon getting the feeling his character was being lied to would not ask the DM for confirmation of it, but might immediately decide his next action (whether that was to confront the NPC, or push for more information, or quietly inform his comrades of his suspicion, or whatever).

Again, this is all in my experience as these are based on actual examples.



As for traps: yes, good traps are often undetectable to the untrained eye, but that's why there's theives' skills. They're there because those guys are trained at detecting the undetectable. On the other hand, simple caution can help to warn adventurers of potential traps that are less than stellar. A ten foot pole run along the ground in front of the lead party member is a great way to find trip wires and pit traps. Using it to jab at a suspicious chest or door is also a great way to avoid bodily harm. Also good for deadfalls, collapsing ceilings, pressure plates, thin ice, tiger traps, and poking mysterious oozes.

I've been a member of an adventuring party that doesn't have a professional thief in it, but we still manage to avoid 90% of traps with simple precautions like these and have even managed to figure out the workings of some well enough to reset them as the situation demanded.


As for vastly different abilities of players and PC's: yes, that can be an issue, but is less so for AD&D for a couple reasons. First, ability scores only went up to 25 in that game. A strength score of 19 was considered super human while a 25 was strong enough to overpower a deity. Second, all one has to do if they are so far below what their character is is to consult the DM and say "you know Lum the Magnificent is very charismatic (CHA score of 35) and I'm, you know . .. not . . . can you help me figure that into the role playing part?"

Rutee
2008-05-15, 12:38 PM
I can not teach you poise. I can not teach you inflection. I can not teach you how to have a comforting presence. I can not teach you how to make your brain operate on a plane above and beyond my own. I don't care if ADnD can't handle powerful characters; That just makes it worse for my purposes, not better. Again, I deal in the larger then life. I can not teach you how to do things I can't do. Your DM doesn't know either. Your DM can not offer any meaningful hints on how to convey or behave with uber scores (especially not in mental stats). This doesn't stop us from roleplaying, of course; However, this is what the statistics and dice are /for/; To help determine how well it carries across in the world.

Again: If you consider rolling to-hit perfectly acceptable, why not rolling to see whether you convince the King that his Vizier is indeed an assassin?

hamlet
2008-05-15, 12:50 PM
Again: If you consider rolling to-hit perfectly acceptable, why not rolling to see whether you convince the King that his Vizier is indeed an assassin?

Because to me, 99% of the fun is in ME trying to do the convincing and NOT in the actual succeeding or rolling dice to see if my character succeeds without me.

I want to convince the King, not just see if I'm successful doing it.

On the other hand, I don't really want to pull a knife or sword and stab somebody, so I'll let the dice handle that.

Rutee
2008-05-15, 12:56 PM
You are in the wrong game altogether if you flatly dislike combat. In point of fact with everything you're saying, you really should just not have a system at all, and go freeform. You don't like combat (Which is quite frankly most of the point to DnD as a system, period), and you don't want a system for other things. Why would you bother with a system in the first place?

At any rate, I don't care whether I succeed or fail either, but I'm not there to vicariously live through my character either. I don't need to be them, nor do I want to feel that /I/ did something. I want to see what happens next in the story.

As one might surmise I also don't care too much about Dungeons and Dragons in the first place.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 12:57 PM
However, this is what the statistics and dice are /for/; To help determine how well it carries across in the world.

Okay, I think this is a really significant point that needs addressing. Stats are for this, for sure, but I think it's important not to conflate dice with stats. I assume you already agree with this, Rutee (maybe you don't, I don't know), but let me put it out there as clearly as possible:

Dice are for randomising outcomes. They model probabilities, which means unknown factors. There is no need for dice and stats to be used together except to create excitement in the game or because the participants want the outcome to be randomised.

Whether you use or don't use dice should be preferential. Statistics are a slightly different matter and deserve separate discussion, but let's see if we can agree about dice first of all. :smallwink:

hamlet
2008-05-15, 01:00 PM
You are in the wrong game altogether if you flatly dislike combat. In point of fact with everything you're saying, you really should just not have a system at all, and go freeform. You don't like combat (Which is quite frankly most of the point to DnD as a system, period), and you don't want a system for other things. Why would you bother with a system in the first place?

At any rate, I don't care whether I succeed or fail either, but I'm not there to vicariously live through my character either. I don't need to be them, nor do I want to feel that /I/ did something. I want to see what happens next in the story.

As one might surmise I also don't care too much about Dungeons and Dragons in the first place.

I'm pretty sure you're not actually reading what I've written.

Yeah, I'm done with this.

fendrin
2008-05-15, 01:01 PM
Only if the DM knows better can it be his fault. The game ought to tell him how to run the game, which it does. He cannot then be faulted for playing the game as presented.
So then you are saying that the mechanics in 3e tell people how to play the game? What then, does the lack of mechanics in 2e say?

No, I strongly disagree with the idea of mechanics as 'how to play the game'. That's like saying physics is 'how to live your life'. I haven't read either the 3.5 DMG2 or the 4e DMG, but from what I've been told, they are both much more focussed on 'how to play the game' than mechanics. There was a little of that in the 3e & 3.5 DMGs, but they obviously saw a need for more (hence the DMG2).

Can you really lay that at the feet of the mechanics? In my opinion, no. It is separate, thought just as (if not more) important. It's not game-system dependent, though, so I don't think it's really an applicable argument in this thread.


Of course, but they are different enough for someone to prefer one over the other, and they do emphasise different play style methodologies. Seriously, it's not helpful to say AD&D and D20 are more similar to one another than they are to Spirit of the Century, that's a given. Does that make one absolutely better or worse than the other? Of course not, but recognition of their differences between systems and their interpretation helps us to understand why people prefer one over another.

To put it another way, the premise of this discussion is that they are very mechanically similar games, the question is why are they then different and why do they seem to be played differently (or indeed are they really played differently?).
Indeed. I suppose then, that I would argue that AD&D 2e is more obviously open to DM manipulation, which sounds like a good thing. However, the gaps in the rules present no way for a fledgling DM to learn what is a fair and balanced way to fill those gaps. Thus a good DM will fill the gaps well, but a bad DM will fill them poorly.

D&D 3.X, on the other hand, has fewer gaps, but is less obviously open to DM manipulation. Whether you consider the provided rules for a 2e gap to be good or bad, they at least provide a starting point for manipulation and a minimum level of quality/consistency.

In conclusion, a DM who can fill the 2e 'gaps' well can also override 3.X rules well. Thus the gaps serve not to allow for better DMing, but contrariwise allow bad DMing to have a greater effect.


It's kind of like trying to explain why I think the original Star Wars trilogy is better than the second Star Wars trilogy. Sure, they're more similar to one another than they are to Star Trek, but they are different enough for me to not really want to watch the second trilogy (or accept that it exists :smallbiggrin:).

Wait, what? They made a second Star Wars trilogy?

Seriously though, beyond the superficialities of setting, the two trilogies are worlds apart in the spectrum of movies. The storytelling style is very different. The role of dialogue and special effects is completely changed. The underlying themes are completely contrary. The level of mythopoeia is off the charts in the original trilogy, and conspicuously absent in the second trilogy.

Or maybe I just spend to much time with film studies majors...

Rutee
2008-05-15, 01:03 PM
Okay, I think this is a really significant point that needs addressing. Stats are for this, for sure, but I think it's important not to conflate dice with stats. I assume you already agree with this, Rutee (maybe you don't, I don't know), but let me put it out there as clearly as possible:
Oh, I do, you're correct. I've taken to adapting the Style Rolls for a frankly irrelevant check, either by the story or by the numbers


I'm pretty sure you're not actually reading what I've written.


Because to me, 99% of the fun is in ME trying to do the convincing and NOT in the actual succeeding or rolling dice to see if my character succeeds without me.

I want to convince the King, not just see if I'm successful doing it.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure I read that right.

SamTheCleric
2008-05-15, 01:08 PM
So, let me ask you... if you're not a great liar in person... but you make a bard with maxed bluff and glibness... how do you reflect that in game other than rolling a die to see how it works out?

If your character is just ... You... in hosery with a feathered hat... why don't you just go to a Ren Faire and be done with it?

hamlet
2008-05-15, 01:21 PM
So, let me ask you... if you're not a great liar in person... but you make a bard with maxed bluff and glibness... how do you reflect that in game other than rolling a die to see how it works out?

If your character is just ... You... in hosery with a feathered hat... why don't you just go to a Ren Faire and be done with it?

How do I manage it? Easily, by actually trying to do so. If I want my character to lie, then I, as the player, lie. I don't roll dice to see how well some lie or other was received, I simply lie. Don't need dice to tell me how to do that.

If it comes down to I as a player am not a great liar, but my character is, I talk to the DM and tell him that while I am not a great liar, my character is and that some consideration has to be taken into account for the difference.

What's hard about that to understand? What's undesirable?

I do not want all aspects of the game quantified and spelled out according to the rules. I want the rules to cover those parts of the game that I can't (whether through complete inability as with magic, or through illegality as with combat) personally deal with.

SamTheCleric
2008-05-15, 01:25 PM
That doesnt seem appealing to me, and that's fine... we don't have to have the same idea of fun.

Leaves too much to DM Fiat, really... if the DM wants you to succeed or not comes down to wether he wants to or not... I prefer the more lawful way of Bluff vs Sense Motive after a bit of role play of the bluffing.

fendrin
2008-05-15, 01:30 PM
How do I manage it? Easily, by actually trying to do so. If I want my character to lie, then I, as the player, lie. I don't roll dice to see how well some lie or other was received, I simply lie. Don't need dice to tell me how to do that.

If it comes down to I as a player am not a great liar, but my character is, I talk to the DM and tell him that while I am not a great liar, my character is and that some consideration has to be taken into account for the difference.

What's hard about that to understand? What's undesirable?

I do not want all aspects of the game quantified and spelled out according to the rules. I want the rules to cover those parts of the game that I can't (whether through complete inability as with magic, or through illegality as with combat) personally deal with.

So then, an 18 charisma bard is more persuasive in one DMs game than another, unless all DMs mystically account for such things exactly the same way.

What is undesirable about that is that a bad DM may not take it into account enough, rendering a 18 cha no more effective than a 10 or 11. Or for that matter, it can alter things too much, rendering a 14 cha just as effective as a 18 cha.

Adding mechanics means that so long as the DM follows the rules approximately, they can be guaranteed a certain level of quality.
What is undesirable about that?

Frosty
2008-05-15, 01:42 PM
You know, you could just roleplay out as you wish (and I do like extensive social rp), and if you did particular well acting it out, you get a Circumstancial Bonus to the roll. So, you'd still roll 1d20+Bluff, but now you get to influence how well your character did.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 01:53 PM
So then you are saying that the mechanics in 3e tell people how to play the game? What then, does the lack of mechanics in 2e say?

No, I strongly disagree with the idea of mechanics as 'how to play the game'. That's like saying physics is 'how to live your life'. I haven't read either the 3.5 DMG2 or the 4e DMG, but from what I've been told, they are both much more focussed on 'how to play the game' than mechanics. There was a little of that in the 3e & 3.5 DMGs, but they obviously saw a need for more (hence the DMG2).

Can you really lay that at the feet of the mechanics? In my opinion, no. It is separate, thought just as (if not more) important. It's not game-system dependent, though, so I don't think it's really an applicable argument in this thread.

Heh, heh. It means that AD&D 2e had a very different design mandate. I had a chance to put a similar question to David Cook a few months ago over on Dragonsfoot:



Another question related to the 2e Core Rulebooks and First Quest. I have long been confused by the absence from the 2e DMG of explicit reference to the 'assigned percentage' rule/guideline, which can be found on page 110 of the 1e DMG. It doubly confuses me because it does make an appearance in First Quest as the default way to handle the resolution of tasks not covered by the rules, but is absent from the revised 2e Core Rulebooks.

What was the reason for apparently leaving this task resolution option out of the 2e Core Rulebooks?



I've minor prejudice against random percentages for some of those things. Blind adherence can lead to bad results (and a lot of munchkin rules lawyering --"I should have at least to 5% chance to do X!"). I'd rather the DM look at it and decide what they think should happen. While the there was certainly encouragement to come up with your own solutions, I probably should have included something about assigning percentages when all else fails.



Thanks for taking the time to answer this. Just to follow up, a common complaint about 2e now is that it doesn't or didn't provide rules to adjudicate very many actions. The most typical example that comes up is the Fighter who cannot sneak past guards because he does not possess any 'stealth' skills. Many counter arguments have been deployed over the course of such discussions, but I wonder if you could tell us how such tasks were intended or expected to be adjudicated, especially with regard to 'tournament play'.

Example: Aldros, a Level Three Fighter, is captured during the course of an adventure; he is stripped of arms, armour and equipment, but through a stroke of good fortune escapes his confinement. Two or three guards are in a nearby room with the door open and he must sneak past in order to make his way to freedom.

The DM wants there to be a chance of success and a chance for failure and about half a dozen methods spring to mind for randomly determining the outcome (Roll for Surprise, Assigned Percentage, Attribute Check, Proficiency Check, Listen Check, Described Action, etc..). My understanding is that it was intended that a DM would experiment and choose a method that he was most comfortable with, but was it expected that there be a particular method of resolution for tournament play? Few of these options are discussed in the core rulebooks.



A couple of things here. The rulebooks weren't intended to support "tournament" play. Writing rules for that kind of play is a whole different thing because you can't really encourage DM's to improvise. The rulebooks were more meant to support general play.

Second, anybody who writes a tournament where a player is expected or required to do something special or outside the standard rules should provide a instructions on how to resolve it. If a designer doesn't, they should be thumped. Tournaments often need special case rules and they're written to suit the situation or the tournament is written to avoid those situations. (Frankly the full interactive nature of roleplaying runs pretty counter to the idea of regulated tournaments already.)

Third, you listed off several ways things could be resolved. The important point was the DM could improvise with anyone of those or some other method.

Frankly, there's not need to have rules for how to resolve everything and there shouldn't be. Doing that you wind up with a rules lawyering monstrosity that saps the spontaneity, improvisation, and storytelling right out of the game. So what if you resolve using different die rolls from situation to situation. The more important question is whether the play and results felt right for that moment?


As far as how D&D 3e tells you to play the game, I think there is a lot of advice in the DMG and PHB including examples that show how the game is intended to be played. I guess, strictly speaking, examples of the mechanics in play are not the mechanics themselves, but I think if the mechanics are designed to be played in a certain way, then it shows through in the people who play.



Indeed. I suppose then, that I would argue that AD&D 2e is more obviously open to DM manipulation, which sounds like a good thing. However, the gaps in the rules present no way for a fledgling DM to learn what is a fair and balanced way to fill those gaps. Thus a good DM will fill the gaps well, but a bad DM will fill them poorly.

D&D 3.X, on the other hand, has fewer gaps, but is less obviously open to DM manipulation. Whether you consider the provided rules for a 2e gap to be good or bad, they at least provide a starting point for manipulation and a minimum level of quality/consistency.

In conclusion, a DM who can fill the 2e 'gaps' well can also override 3.X rules well. Thus the gaps serve not to allow for better DMing, but contrariwise allow bad DMing to have a greater effect.

Well, this is the old argument. More rules may make the game more consistant between DMs, it may even establish a minimum quality of DMing by its very existence, but I don't agree that it is easy to over rule those rules. When I tried to get D20 working the way I wanted it to, I found I was investing a lot of time and energy into making it more like AD&D. At that point I realised that I might as well be playing AD&D.




Or maybe I just spend to much time with film studies majors...

Yah, I am sure that if you spend a lot of time in the company of Grognards you'll probably find the same sort of subtleties apply to AD&D/D20. :smallwink:



Oh, I do, you're correct. I've taken to adapting the Style Rolls for a frankly irrelevant check, either by the story or by the numbers

Okay cool, so let's see if we can try and answer Sam's question with this in mind.



So, let me ask you... if you're not a great liar in person... but you make a bard with maxed bluff and glibness... how do you reflect that in game other than rolling a die to see how it works out?

If your character is just ... You... in hosery with a feathered hat... why don't you just go to a Ren Faire and be done with it?

Right, dice do not in any way reflect the abilities of your character. They randomise outcomes and model probabilities, that's all.

In D20 you model 'bluff and glibness' by having skills, attributes, feats (statistics) and, hopefully, some roleplaying skill. In AD&D you model it by roleplay (hopefully) attributes, level and, basically, just saying that he is.

So, in D20 you might have the following for Diplomacy:



Level 4 Half Elf Bard
[Charisma 18 (4) + Skill Ranks (7) + Skill Focus (3) + Race (2) = 16

In any given circumstance, the player can choose to 'take ten' (26) or randomise the outcome (17-37). The difficulty of the task is determined by the DM and modified depending on his appraisal of your roleplaying skill (or not, as the case may be).


In AD&D you might have the following for Diplomacy:



Level 4 Half Elf Bard
Intelligence 15, Wisdom 12, Charisma 18, [Character background, skilled mediator and personable].

The DM decides case by case which of these factors will have an impact on a given task and whether dice will need to be rolled, taking into account his appraisal of your roleplaying skill (or not, as the case may be).


What you have in D20 is a systemised methodology applied to all tasks that involve an arbitrary and discrete skill and instructions for how to resolve a generalised task. You also have mathematical units (resources) to spend or allocate that tie into this system, which make you feel as though your character 'really is' a 'glib and persuasive' or personable and 'skilled in mediation.' Essentially, nobody can say to you "no he's not" and you can measure his skill relative to other characters and determine who is the more skilled.

What you have in AD&D is a general idea of the attributes of a character, his 'experience' level, class and personality. It's up to the DM to determine how those things affect any task that you might undertake and whether it is necessary to roll a die to account for undetermined factors or create excitement.

Cainen
2008-05-15, 01:53 PM
So then, an 18 charisma bard is more persuasive in one DMs game than another, unless all DMs mystically account for such things exactly the same way.

Yes, because again, he's wanting it to play out instead of going "I roll for Diplomacy." I fail to see why you think his preference is bad. If anything, having characters with at least one stat consistently around the 18 mark is what's turned some people off, too - 3d6 meant you generally had an idea of how to play the character as his stats said.


What is undesirable about that is that a bad DM may not take it into account enough, rendering a 18 cha no more effective than a 10 or 11. Or for that matter, it can alter things too much, rendering a 14 cha just as effective as a 18 cha.

Why are you using the bad DM argument? With a bad, mechanically minded DM, he wouldn't want to play in the first place.


Adding mechanics means that so long as the DM follows the rules approximately, they can be guaranteed a certain level of quality.
What is undesirable about that?

He doesn't want it. It's not fun to play with it That's exactly what's undesirable about it.


That doesnt seem appealing to me, and that's fine... we don't have to have the same idea of fun.

Precisely - but your idea of fun is more common nowadays, and that's damning for people who disagree with it.


Leaves too much to DM Fiat, really...
if the DM wants you to succeed or not comes down to wether he wants to or not...

You want to know the counterargument? A DM can just as easily fudge dice rolls or not give a damn about your roll. When I'm GMing, unless your attempt succeeded before the roll, I'm just going to fail your check or boot you out regardless of your roll - it has absolutely no meaning to me.

I don't play D&D for the mechanics. They get in the way. I try to play it as a freeform game almost invariably, but then someone will force a brick wall in my path. Guess what brick wall that is?


I prefer the more lawful way of Bluff vs Sense Motive after a bit of role play of the bluffing.

That solves absolutely NOTHING. This is precisely why many older players do not like 3.X. I don't know why it's hard to understand this.


You know, you could just roleplay out as you wish (and I do like extensive social rp), and if you did particular well acting it out, you get a Circumstancial Bonus to the roll. So, you'd still roll 1d20+Bluff, but now you get to influence how well your character did.

That's still not what he wants, and the reason why he doesn't play 3.X.

hamlet
2008-05-15, 01:54 PM
That doesnt seem appealing to me, and that's fine... we don't have to have the same idea of fun.

Leaves too much to DM Fiat, really... if the DM wants you to succeed or not comes down to wether he wants to or not... I prefer the more lawful way of Bluff vs Sense Motive after a bit of role play of the bluffing.

I don't think it's a matter we have different ideas of what fun is, just different ideas of what constitutes a fun game.

For somebody like me, having rules that cover all, most, or even more than just the basic situations that would need to be covered (and by need to be covered, I include basic combat, magic, level systems, and monsters pretty much), is oppressive most of the time. I like 2nd edition because it's not cluttered up with a huge pile of rules that I don't need or want.

For me, the rules should cover only those things that I cannot.

Others, of course, have different preferences.

hamlet
2008-05-15, 02:00 PM
So then, an 18 charisma bard is more persuasive in one DMs game than another, unless all DMs mystically account for such things exactly the same way.

What is undesirable about that is that a bad DM may not take it into account enough, rendering a 18 cha no more effective than a 10 or 11. Or for that matter, it can alter things too much, rendering a 14 cha just as effective as a 18 cha.

Adding mechanics means that so long as the DM follows the rules approximately, they can be guaranteed a certain level of quality.
What is undesirable about that?

No, what you've got is not quality, but consistency. Two different things and one is not dependent upon the other.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with variability between games. In fact, IMO, that's a good thing. Otherwise, I'd be playing a computer game.

Rutee
2008-05-15, 02:05 PM
What you have in D20 is a systemised methodology applied to all tasks that involve an arbitrary and discrete skill and instructions for how to resolve a generalised task. You also have mathematical units (resources) to spend or allocate that tie into this system, which make you feel as though your character 'really is' a 'glib and persuasive' or personable and 'skilled in mediation.' Essentially, nobody can say to you "no he's not" and you can measure his skill relative to other characters and determine who is the more skilled.

What you have in AD&D is a general idea of the attributes of a character, his 'experience' level, class and personality. It's up to the DM to determine how those things affect any task that you might undertake and whether it is necessary to roll a die to account for undetermined factors or create excitement.

None of this addresses my question; If that's good enough for social things, why isn't it good enough for combat? Hamlet's response was "I don't like combat, so I don't want to actually do it", effectively. That doesn't sound like a good reason to mechanize combat and not negotiations to any degree, since arguably you shouldn't bother with mechanics for things that you don't want to do.


You know, you could just roleplay out as you wish (and I do like extensive social rp), and if you did particular well acting it out, you get a Circumstancial Bonus to the roll. So, you'd still roll 1d20+Bluff, but now you get to influence how well your character did.
I do this with everything, so yes, I agree with that.

Cainen
2008-05-15, 02:11 PM
None of this addresses my question; If that's good enough for social things, why isn't it good enough for combat? Hamlet's response was "I don't like combat, so I don't want to actually do it", effectively. That doesn't sound like a good reason to mechanize combat and not negotiations to any degree, since arguably you shouldn't bother with mechanics for things that you don't want to do.

A more appropriate response - Combat is considerably harder to arbitrate, as someone who's inexperienced in the field will have a terrible time trying to roleplay it well. While it's certainly possible to play it his way, it's not necessarily faster - or better. He just doesn't prefer to play it that way, and mechanics make it a fair bit better to run with, as far as he's concerned.


I do this with everything, so yes, I agree with that.

Is this going to solve a failed roll on what was rock-solid playing?

Matthew
2008-05-15, 02:23 PM
None of this addresses my question; If that's good enough for social things, why isn't it good enough for combat? Hamlet's response was "I don't like combat, so I don't want to actually do it", effectively. That doesn't sound like a good reason to mechanize combat and not negotiations to any degree, since arguably you shouldn't bother with mechanics for things that you don't want to do.

Hey, I'm trying my best. :smallwink:

Okay, sorry, if I wasn't clear. There is no reason not to do the same thing for combat. The designers simply assumed that players wanted to have a degree of randomisation in combat to heighten excitement (will he succeed, won't he). To some degree that back fired in two ways: randomised outcomes aren't always exciting (I hit, I miss, I hit, etc...) and the extensive (by comparison with the task resolution rules) rules for combat were abstracted in ways that made them often seem unrealistic and verisimiltude challenging.

In my opinion, the combat system is quite fun, for the most part, and leaves a lot of room for improvisation. Applying it to other aspects of the game, though, extends the problems of combat into those areas. Fun for some, but not for me.

It is worth noting, of course, that actual combat skill is a function of level and class and not skill based.

PnP Fan
2008-05-15, 02:38 PM
I would expect that the two are related, but that it's more of a feedback loop, with other influences besides just the rules you are using at the time(the folks you play with, how many systems you've played before, personal interests in math/drama/writing, age, etc. . ..). There are probably enough factors that, after one or two systems, it would be hard to predict. I see this sort of thing a lot in martial arts classes. Students who've never studied before, learn what I have to teach (Aikido/Judo mix) the best they can, given time allowed and general fitness/coordination. Students who have studied other styles before usually try to fit what I teach into their previous experiences, and, eventually they catch on to how it works. But it usually takes longer for them to integrate everything.

Having said that, I personally prefer a rules heavy/complete system. Not so much because I like rolling dice, but because it's hard to get folks into the mindset of a medieval fantasy person. Most often I run into cases where folks want to use clearly scientifiic thought processes and technical knowledge that is commonplace today, but they don't have the skills on their character sheet to back up this knowledge. Conversely, running a game in a modern setting can be next to impossible to do without lots of skills, because most folks IRL aren't Nuclear Physicists, or have ever operated a tank, or a ship, or any number of adventuring kinds of things that might come up in a modern game. So we abstract these things into skills, for the sake of representing character knowledge that we don't actually possess. Quite frankly, if you want to "interact with a trap" go right ahead. I could care less about the trap, except that it gets disarmed. I'm more interested in why the trap is there, and what purpose it serves in the story.

I used to feel the same way about social interaction skills. Until I met a guy who likes to play bards, but also picks his nose at the table. Under most circumstances, actually a really nice guy, and would do anything to help you. (and eventually stopped picking his nose). But to be effectively convinced of anything this guy said, to be charmed, etc. . . would require more suspension of disbelief than I have available. But his social skills were maxed out, and his CHARACTER is very suave, even if he isn't particularly. So instead, when someone does something socially "clever" I give them a bonus to the roll.

I think the issue with saying things like "I have an 18 cha /My character is good at lying / my character is very seductive / etc. . . " is that eventually some clown is going to come along and say "my character is good at <insert whatever we need right now in the game, even if its outside my concept>" and that's annoying, both as a game master and as another player. I've seen players do it before (in rules light games), and it usually results in lots of discussion, and poor justification, and a delay in actually playing the game. Rules heavy systems solve this by making the capabilities of a character well defined, and well understood. Trying to do things beyond your competency are allowed for, but are frequently very difficult. Rules light systems tend to solve this by establishing a strong trust relationship between the player and the GM.

Don't misunderstand me, I like rules light systems too (I'm a fan of the PDQ system from Atomic Sock Monkey). It's just that rules light systems require a certain type of group.

Rutee
2008-05-15, 02:39 PM
Again, this doesn't sync up well, Matthew. If the combat system is that problematic, how is it fun?

TheElfLord
2008-05-15, 02:51 PM
How do I manage it? Easily, by actually trying to do so. If I want my character to lie, then I, as the player, lie. I don't roll dice to see how well some lie or other was received, I simply lie. Don't need dice to tell me how to do that.

If it comes down to I as a player am not a great liar, but my character is, I talk to the DM and tell him that while I am not a great liar, my character is and that some consideration has to be taken into account for the difference.



While this method is viable, doesn't it in the end, invalidate the roll playing just as much as rolling the dice? Say you are actually a person who is a terrible liar with poor social skills and a CHA of 8. I'm sure most of us have met a gamer sometime in our experience who fits this. But this person wants to play a high charisma very sociable character who can lie flawlessly. Okay, so the player tells the DM about the difference and the DM takes it into consideration.

Now what happens when the party encounters a social situation. The player talks his way through it, butchering it horribly because he can't lie, and doesn't convince others well. He ends up being completely transparent and insulting the creature he is interacting with. (Don't think this is just hyperbole, I've seen it happen). What is the DM to do? he has 3 options:

A). Let the roleplaying stand on its own, in which case the player's poor ability dooms the situation.
B). Roll a die to determine the situation. This completely invalidates the roleplaying but letting plastic chance rule the day.
C). Pretend the interaction was actually carried out by a super charismatic social character and rule accordingly. This option also invalidates the roleplaying because it doesn't matter what the player actually said, it matters what the character would have said in the same situation, which is what a die roll would represent. The only difference is the DM would make the call instead of letting the die do it. The player's roleplaying is just as inconsequential.

Lets put it in a workable example. Geoffrey the Charming, with 18 CHA, maxed social abilities, and a long backstory about his abilty to influce people and charm women, is played by Tom. Tom has never had a gf, and doesn't talk to girls much. In fact, he mostly just hangs out on his computer and rpgs.

Goeffrey goes into a bar and the DM tells him he sees a pretty girl.
Tom: I want to seduce her.
DM: Go ahead
Tom: I walk up, grab her butt and say, "Hey wench, want to make love?"
DM: *stares at Tom for a bit, cries a little inside, and considers his opitons*
A) Use Tom's roleplaying "The girl slaps you and tells you to get away"
B) Role a die, "You get a 35 to seduce her, and the goes with you willingly"
C) Ignore Tom's roleplaying and decide Goeffrey would say something more effective "Goeffrey's charming words convince her to go with you"

Now, most players won't be as bad as the hypothetical one I've outlined above, but DnD does have its share of unsociable people. My point is that just as die rolling invalidates roleplaying, so can use of DM fiat to avoid die rolling.

Frosty
2008-05-15, 02:51 PM
Is this going to solve a failed roll on what was rock-solid playing?

If the role-playing is rock-solid, she'll get a big circumstancial bonus, possibly enough to succeed. If the roll still failed, then this represents sometimes LUCK just being against you. Even the world's best debater won't convince everyone that her position is right all the time.

If you try to BLUFF the Grand Vizier, you'll just have to accept the fact that sometimes, even when you try your best (represented by your rock solid roleplay), the Grand Vizier's years of experience at backstabbing politics (humongous Sense Motive modifier) might trump that.

Next time, you may roll better (you got luckier. Or the vizier was slightly distracted maybe or you just didn't twitch your eyes) and you maybe successful.

Now, if your character has a low Bluff score to begin with (that means, story-wise, he is SUPPOSED to suck at Bluffing), then what the hell are you doing roleplaying her as rock-solid in Bluffing? If I play a 6 Int Orc, I'm not going to roleplay him doing something extremely smart.

hamlet
2008-05-15, 02:55 PM
Again, this doesn't sync up well, Matthew. If the combat system is that problematic, how is it fun?

The problem is not with the combat system in and of itself, but with the application of the combat system to all situations, which is what d20 has done.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 02:56 PM
Again, this doesn't sync up well, Matthew. If the combat system is that problematic, how is it fun?

The combat system has its problems, but there's no reason to extend those into other areas of the game. The problems themselves are usually solved by a few simple things:

1) Improvisation; a player character wants to try something different, the DM improvises a rule and excitement is raised [i.e. exactly what is done with other forms of task resolution].

2) Explanation; the 'less probable' aspects of combat are 'explained away'. Many strategies are used for that.

3) Imagination; probably the most important element of a fun combat is imagining what's happening, hopefully aided by capable DM description.

A game can, of course, be fun without being realistic or randomised.



Quite frankly, if you want to "interact with a trap" go right ahead. I could care less about the trap, except that it gets disarmed. I'm more interested in why the trap is there, and what purpose it serves in the story.

Fair enough, but it's supposed to present an interesting 'puzzle' challenge.



Rules heavy systems solve this by making the capabilities of a character well defined, and well understood. Trying to do things beyond your competency are allowed for, but are frequently very difficult. Rules light systems tend to solve this by establishing a strong trust relationship between the player and the GM.

Don't misunderstand me, I like rules light systems too (I'm a fan of the PDQ system from Atomic Sock Monkey). It's just that rules light systems require a certain type of group.

Yes, that's all quite true, but I would say 'rules heavy' systems also require a certain type of group [i.e. one that enjoys and is willing to learn lots of rules].

Rutee
2008-05-15, 03:11 PM
The problem is not with the combat system in and of itself, but with the application of the combat system to all situations, which is what d20 has done.

No, d20 hasn't applied the combat system to all things. They applied their task resolution mechanic to all things. That's called "Common sense". It's a task resolution mechanic; You use it on tasks. D20 didn't apply anything approaching the complexity or depth of their combat system to other mechanics.



The combat system has its problems, but there's no reason to extend those into other areas of the game. The problems themselves are usually solved by a few simple things:

1) Improvisation; a player character wants to try something different, the DM improvises a rule and excitement is raised [i.e. exactly what is done with other forms of task resolution].

2) Explanation; the 'less probable' aspects of combat are 'explained away'. Many strategies are used for that.

3) Imagination; probably the most important element of a fun combat is imagining what's happening, hopefully aided by capable DM description.

A game can, of course, be fun without being realistic or randomised.
There's something about this that I'm not getting. You have the solutions to the problems. You obviously consider them good solutions, hence why you don't carry them elsewhere. Again: Why is randomness only good in combat? Since it seems randomness is what you object to most strenuously.

Cainen
2008-05-15, 03:12 PM
If the role-playing is rock-solid, she'll get a big circumstancial bonus, possibly enough to succeed. If the roll still failed, then this represents sometimes LUCK just being against you. Even the world's best debater won't convince everyone that her position is right all the time.

Why roll on rock-solid roleplaying? That defeats the point, and I really couldn't care less for playing by rolls.


If you try to BLUFF the Grand Vizier, you'll just have to accept the fact that sometimes, even when you try your best (represented by your rock solid roleplay), the Grand Vizier's years of experience at backstabbing politics (humongous Sense Motive modifier) might trump that.

You assume I want to play with people who prefer to handle these things through rolls. I don't, and the GM should handle this case personally, as far as I'm concerned. More work or not, I'm not going to want to stake the game on a roll of dice, period.

It's a difference in playstyle, but you refuse to accept that I don't want to play your way.


If I play a 6 Int Orc, I'm not going to roleplay him doing something extremely smart.

Neither would I. What's your point?

Tough_Tonka
2008-05-15, 03:12 PM
I wouldn't say that they do. I've meet groups that play combat heavy White Wolf games and I've known politic and dice light D&D groups. Though I would say the play styles of groups tend to determine what system they use.

Rutee
2008-05-15, 03:14 PM
Why roll on rock-solid roleplaying? That defeats the point, and I really couldn't care less for playing by rolls.

There's clearly a disconnect. I don't ever have roleplaying stop. You roleplay in combat, you roleplay out of combat. You obviously 'can't' (Can, but not in DnD) roleplay combat away. Why is it you can just roleplay other things away?

hamlet
2008-05-15, 03:20 PM
No, d20 hasn't applied the combat system to all things. They applied their task resolution mechanic to all things. That's called "Common sense". It's a task resolution mechanic; You use it on tasks. D20 didn't apply anything approaching the complexity or depth of their combat system to other mechanics.


Yes, and their "universal mechanic" was nothing more than a combat system. It's a major flaw, really, in many modern games, that their universal mechanic is, essentially, a combat mechanic applied across the board.

That is what d20 has done. In fact, their universal mechanic is nothing more than a rejiggered AD&D combat mechanic (i.e., roll d20, apply modifiers, compare against target number, higher is better).

Rutee
2008-05-15, 03:26 PM
A task resolution system with randomization is automatically a combat mechanic now? I must have missed that memo.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 03:28 PM
There's something about this that I'm not getting. You have the solutions to the problems. You obviously consider them good solutions, hence why you don't carry them elsewhere. Again: Why is randomness only good in combat? Since it seems randomness is what you object to most strenuously.
No, no. Randomness is fine in task resolution. I just think that most tasks do not need to be randomised. I wouldn't require a roll to climb something easily climbable any more than I would ask for a roll to run a short distance, jump a a narrow chasm, swim in a pool, ride a horse along a road or construct a simple item (assuming that the character seems capable of such things). Nor would I roll dice to determine who won an arm wrestling match, the Strength 9 Thief or Strength 18 Fighter (though I might let the Thief use Dexterity or win via a trick).

On the other hand, I would randomise the outcome of an arm wrestle between two Fighters with Strength 11 and 12, the distance they each managed to throw a discus, etc... I would not likely use a D20 to determine the outcome, though.

Similarly, I am fine randomly determining the reaction of an NPC if I don't know how they will respond or don't care to decide.

Frosty
2008-05-15, 03:35 PM
Why roll on rock-solid roleplaying? That defeats the point, and I really couldn't care less for playing by rolls.
Why? Because it's a better way to model successes or failures. How do you suppose the DM decide whether or not your character successfully Bluffs the Grand Vizier? The DM needs some fair way to adjudicate whether something succeeds or not. In Real Life, whether your lie works depends on your own skill and the THOUGHT PROCESS of the other person. In DnD, you can still bring your own skill in a way by roleplaying. the problem is, the DM is not the Gradn Vizier, and can't duplicate his thought process. He can't accuractely and consistently determine whether you fail or not without some sort of mechanics for it, whether or not it's written in the rules. Having written rules just makes it easier on the DM.



You assume I want to play with people who prefer to handle these things through rolls. I don't, and the GM should handle this case personally, as far as I'm concerned. More work or not, I'm not going to want to stake the game on a roll of dice, period.

It's a difference in playstyle, but you refuse to accept that I don't want to play your way.

So in your view of the world, there is no random chance at all? I mean, in dramatic situations, the DM may fudge a bad dice roll a bit especially if you roleplayed well, but for the most part, there is random chance in the world, and it is represented by dice. Of course, if your Bluff Modifier if high enough, you might auto-succeed anyways.

If you're not willing to accept that you're supposed going to succeed or fail based on your CHARACTER's abilities aided or hindered a bit by luck, then you should not be playing DnD. GO...PLAY...FREEFORM.



Neither would I. What's your point?
My point is to give an example where you gave rock-solid rp but still failed in the task because your stats don't support your rp. In that case, it's actually BAD rp.

hamlet
2008-05-15, 03:36 PM
A task resolution system with randomization is automatically a combat mechanic now? I must have missed that memo.

That is not what I said.

Not all task resolution mechanics are combat mechanics.

However, I DID say that d20's universal mechanic was, indeed, a combat mechanic seeing as how it is, for all intents and purposes, identicle to the AD&D combat mechanic where it was first pioneered.

Rutee
2008-05-15, 03:40 PM
Ah, you're saying it descended from a Combat Mechanic. Yeah, I'll agree to that. I just don't particularly care, nor find it a relevant fact.

Frosty
2008-05-15, 03:42 PM
No, no. Randomness is fine in task resolution. I just think that most tasks do not need to be randomised. I wouldn't require a roll to climb something easily climbable any more than I would ask for a roll to run a short distance, jump a a narrow chasm, swim in a pool, ride a horse along a road or construct a simple item (assuming that the character seems capable of such things).

You *do* realize that most people don't roll for those either? The DMG advises you on what needs to be rolled and doesn't. The mechanic is called "Taking 10." In non-stressful situations, most everybody auto-succeeds on these things.

In a combat situation, riding a horse is harder, but someone who is skilled can *still* do some things without rolling, because he has a high enough modifier to AUTO-SUCCEED. DnD actually handles a lot of these things amazingly well, although there is still a lot of room for improvement, such as...



Nor would I roll dice to determine who won an arm wrestling match, the Strength 9 Thief or Strength 18 Fighter (though I might let the Thief use Dexterity or win via a trick).

On the other hand, I would randomise the outcome of an arm wrestle between two Fighters with Strength 11 and 12, the distance they each managed to throw a discus, etc... I would not likely use a D20 to determine the outcome, though.
In DnD 3.5 rules, the Thief would have a chance of winning. A small one, but enough to win like 25% of the time. This is clearly one of those times when rolling a 3d6 would be better than a d20 for a strength check. But the *ideas* and *concepts* behind a strength check is sound. In this case it's just the specific probability calculation that was not well-planned, so the DM wouldneed the modify the rules for a arm-wrestling strength check.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 03:44 PM
If you're not willing to accept that you're supposed going to succeed or fail based on your CHARACTER's abilities aided or hindered a bit by luck, then you should not be playing DnD. GO...PLAY...FREEFORM.

Whoah, whoah, whoah. Don't confuse D&D with D20. Even if you do, take a look at the playstyle section of the DMG and you'll soon see that even D20 was intended to be able to be played without randomisation of task resolution:

p. 8, 3.5 DMG:



Rules become less important in this style. Since combat isn’t the focus, game mechanics take a back seat to character development. Skill modifiers take precedence over combat bonuses, and even then the actual numbers often don’t mean much. Feel free to change rules to fit the player’s roleplaying needs. You may even want to streamline the combat system so that it takes less time away from the story.




You *do* realize that most people don't roll for those either? The DMG advises you on what needs to be rolled and doesn't. The mechanic is called "Taking 10." In non-stressful situations, most everybody auto-succeeds on these things.

I know how D20 works. I wasn't comparing D20 to AD&D. I was explaining to Rutee my view of the roll of randomness in games.



In a combat situation, riding a horse is harder, but someone who is skilled can *still* do some things without rolling, because he has a high enough modifier to AUTO-SUCCEED. DnD actually handles a lot of these things amazingly well, although there is still a lot of room for improvement, such as...

I know how D20 works.



In DnD 3.5 rules, the Thief would have a chance of winning. A small one, but enough to win like 25% of the time. This is clearly one of those times when rolling a 3d6 would be better than a d20 for a strength check. But the *ideas* and *concepts* behind a strength check is sound. In this case it's just the specific probability calculation that was not well-planned, so the DM wouldneed the modify the rules for a arm-wrestling strength check.

Again, I know how D20 works. Defending it is pointless, I'm not attacking it. I am telling you that I have no desire to run the game that way.

Rutee
2008-05-15, 03:47 PM
Just because DnD claims to support a playstyle doesn't mean they do; Look at their own words. DnD is effectively saying "You may not use the rules at all", at which point /you're really not playing DnD/. Which is perfectly fine by me. I think DnD is a garbage system to pick anyway if you're going for that playstyle. But it's not the same thing.

Frosty
2008-05-15, 03:49 PM
That's one style of play. In these cases, instead of rolling, you'd just compare the bluff of your character vs Sense Motive of the other guy. Whoever's skill is higher wins. There. no rolling. If you rely purely on roleplaying skills, you are penalizing the PLAYER who is naturally bad at bluffing. That's why I suggest circumstancial bonuses, so RP does matter, but it's not everything.

And to be honest, that style of play is completely foreign to most DnD players I know. We like have both RP *and* dice.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 03:49 PM
Just because DnD claims to support a playstyle doesn't mean they do; Look at their own words. DnD is effectively saying "You may not use the rules at all", at which point /you're really not playing DnD/. Which is perfectly fine by me. I think DnD is a garbage system to pick anyway if you're going for that playstyle. But it's not the same thing.

Sure, I am not saying it does. I'm saying that the designers claim it does and I am stating that it's not okay to tell somebody to go and play a freeform game if they want to reduce the amount of randomness in their D&D game. I'm pretty sure it's even against the rules of this forum.

Frosty
2008-05-15, 03:52 PM
Sure, I am not saying it does. I'm saying that the designers claim it does and I am stating that it's not okay to tell somebody to go and play a freeform game if they want to reduce the amount of randomness in their D&D game.

It might not be fair, but under the current 3.5 ruleset, it might be the most practical advice. Of course, if you can make DnD work for you without randomness...more power to ya.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 03:55 PM
That's one style of play. In these cases, instead of rolling, you'd just compare the bluff of your character vs Sense Motive of the other guy. Whoever's skill is higher wins. There. no rolling. If you rely purely on roleplaying skills, you are penalizing the PLAYER who is naturally bad at bluffing. That's why I suggest circumstancial bonuses, so RP does matter, but it's not everything.

That may well work for your group. I have used that method in the past, it's not for me.



And to be honest, that style of play is completely foreign to most DnD players I know. We like have both RP *and* dice.

Yes, and that is preferential, not an absolute description of people who play D&D. Most of the D&D players I know don't play D20, an equally useful (or rather useless) sample.



It might not be fair, but under the current 3.5 ruleset, it might be the most practical advice. Of course, if you can make DnD work for you without randomness...more power to ya.

Nothing to do with fairness, it's just plain rude. And honestly, what on earth does any of this have to do with the subject of this thread?

Frosty
2008-05-15, 03:59 PM
Nothing. I'm just responding to you. I believe that with current DnD mechanics, it is difficult to achieve your style of play. There is nothing "rude" about the suggestion at all. I am giving you advice on what I believe would best help achieve your needs. Freeform is probably easier than trying to adapt DnD rules to what your style wants. You can take it how you wish.

Cainen
2008-05-15, 04:01 PM
There's clearly a disconnect. I don't ever have roleplaying stop. You roleplay in combat, you roleplay out of combat.

Neither do I - if I have a choice, that is. Often, I'll get brickwalled due to the GM's inappropriate response to an action, or due to other issues. Correlation may not indicate causation, but pulling off maneuvers that noone else in the party can do to flank the enemy -then- critically failing my attack roll every time is going to discourage me from trying anything creative. It's happened without fail every time I've tried to end a battle prematurely through intelligent, not-covered-by-the-rules tactics.


You obviously 'can't' (Can, but not in DnD) roleplay combat away. Why is it you can just roleplay other things away?

Sure I can - the GM isn't always going to let me, though.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 04:04 PM
Nothing. I'm just responding to you. I believe that with current DnD mechanics, it is difficult to achieve your style of play. There is nothing "rude" about the suggestion at all. I am giving you advice on what I believe would best help achieve your needs. Freeform is probably easier than trying to adapt DnD rules to what your style wants. You can take it how you wish.

Actually you were responding to Cainen, and frankly it is rude to tell people to do something, you certainly did not 'suggest' it (you even capitalised it, that is the internet equivalent of shouting at someone).

I am wondering if you are familiar with the course of this thread, though. As should have been reasonably clear from the first page (where I said so), I don't play D20 anymore. I am not seeking to adapt it to my style of play, though I did have a go once upon a time. I play AD&D, BD&D or C&C if I want to play 'D&D'.

To be clear, this isn't an 'attack/defend' D20 thread, it was about how playstyles may or may not differ over editions. Explanations are necessary, but not debates about preferential forms of play.

Frosty
2008-05-15, 04:05 PM
Neither do I - if I have a choice, that is. Often, I'll get brickwalled due to the GM's inappropriate response to an action, or due to other issues. Correlation may not indicate causation, but pulling off maneuvers that noone else in the party can do to flank the enemy -then- critically failing my attack roll every time is going to discourage me from trying anything creative. It's happened without fail every time I've tried to end a battle prematurely through intelligent, not-covered-by-the-rules tactics.

Are you sure that's not just bad luck with your str or dex checks? Rolled a lot of ones?

I can understand your frustration, and agree that 3.5 rules are far from perfect (which is why DnD 4th ed is coming out) but that doesn't mean the entire concept of rolling dice is bad.

fendrin
2008-05-15, 04:09 PM
Wow, a lot of vigorous responses. I must have hit a nerve...

Matthew, thank you for your honest, clear, and thoughtful responses.

To others, 'I don't like it because I don't like it' is a tautology and utterly worthless. I don't particularly care that you don't like it, but I am curious as to why. Think of this as your chance to convince me.

Now a few specific responses:

Heh, heh. It means that AD&D 2e had a very different design mandate.
That, of course, is definitely true. The interview info was interesting, but not ultimately that useful, as of course the designer of AD&D would prefer the AD&D style, and argue in favor of it. I would love to see a panel discussion of David Cook, Monte Cook, and James Wyatt. That would be *awesome*.


As far as how D&D 3e tells you to play the game, I think there is a lot of advice in the DMG and PHB including examples that show how the game is intended to be played. I guess, strictly speaking, examples of the mechanics in play are not the mechanics themselves, but I think if the mechanics are designed to be played in a certain way, then it shows through in the people who play. I still don't see the mechanics as 'how to play'. Playing is much more than mechanics; we both seem to agree on that.
Also, I think that the people who play are more likely to shape how mechanics are used, than the mechanics are to shape the people who play.


Well, this is the old argument. More rules may make the game more consistant between DMs, it may even establish a minimum quality of DMing by its very existence, but I don't agree that it is easy to over rule those rules. When I tried to get D20 working the way I wanted it to, I found I was investing a lot of time and energy into making it more like AD&D. At that point I realised that I might as well be playing AD&D.

What exactly made removing certain bits of the mechanics difficult? Honestly, from the sound of it, you were more trying to hybridize 2e and 3e, not just change a few rules. Obviously, if a system is so completely different from what you want, you should use a different system.

I feel we are a bit off-topic, though.
The issue at hand is whether the mechanics alter play style, which is not directly related to the ease or lack thereof of altering the rules.

I believe, from my experience, that play style is influenced but not controlled by mechanics.

Perhaps the issue here is that 3e allows for a different (and, to 2e fans, less desirable) play style that is much harder to do in 2e, namely, munchkinery (aka 'trying to win D&D').

Again though, that has much more to do with the players/DM than the system. I know people who munchkined 2e, and people who do just the opposite in 3e (and even in more mechanically-oriented games, like HERO).

Thus, I repeat: in my experience, mechanics do not determine play style.

Cainen
2008-05-15, 04:11 PM
Are you sure that's not just bad luck with your str or dex checks? Rolled a lot of ones?

That's bad luck with the d20 in general - there's a reason I've hit the party's Fighter more often than I have enemies, even though that character is not only fairly optimized, but actually very competent at combat statistically. 3d6 would cut that problem out, but it doesn't change my other dislikes of the system in the first place, and the game I run is the only one to use 3d6.


I can understand your frustration, and agree that 3.5 rules are far from perfect (which is why DnD 4th ed is coming out) but that doesn't mean the entire concept of rolling dice is bad.

I never said it was bad - I just said it wasn't as fun as playing it out, which is what pretty much everyone else in favor of AD&D is saying. More apt to freeforming or not, it's still more fun for us.

Rutee
2008-05-15, 04:16 PM
Sure, I am not saying it does. I'm saying that the designers claim it does and I am stating that it's not okay to tell somebody to go and play a freeform game if they want to reduce the amount of randomness in their D&D game. I'm pretty sure it's even against the rules of this forum.

I don't believe it's against the rules of the forum to point out that your goals are better served with another game, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were. Regardless, that's effectively what Frosty is saying.

Frosty
2008-05-15, 04:21 PM
Critical failures itself is a an optional rule according to the PHB iirc. Auto-miss is the default I make it so the player has to roll 2 ones in a row to critical fail. This makes it a lot more rare. I have considered switching to 2d10 instead of 1d20s, but I didn't want to spring something in the middle of a campaign on my players.

I'm still trying to learn why you consider 3.5 dice rolling to be not fun though. If you want to try something imaginative and crazy and fun, a good DM will still be able to whip up an improv rule on the spot, regardless of the existing rules for covering everything else. I guess I see dice as necessary because I do not have my characters' abilities and hence I can't rp out everything my character can do.

Scintillatus
2008-05-15, 04:27 PM
Huh.

If it's appropriate to ignore rolls when someone produces a masterpiece speech or bit of fast-talk, is it also appropriate to ignore rolls if someone is a master of fencing and begins describing how he parries each blow and stabs his enemies through the heart?

At what point is the line drawn? Player/DM fiat? Then we are at a standstill.
When a player has no knowledge of the subject? Then we acknowledge social rolls as acceptable.
Solely in combat? Then we recognise that the argument of "giving a good speech" falls by matter of comparison with the solving of a puzzle with cryptology experience, or fighting a battle with fencing or kendo or etc experience.

Personally I think a system of rolling -before- you speak is probably a better idea... Of course, I prefer the WoD more than D&D, so I'm not exactly the most qualified to discuss this.

Frosty
2008-05-15, 04:35 PM
Personally I think a system of rolling -before- you speak is probably a better idea... Of course, I prefer the WoD more than D&D, so I'm not exactly the most qualified to discuss this.

I do that in Play-by-post. I roll to see how well I do, and then I describe my actions appropriately, whether it be swinging my sword of +5 mean-ness or charming my way into the Queen's ball.

Cainen
2008-05-15, 05:03 PM
Huh.

If it's appropriate to ignore rolls when someone produces a masterpiece speech or bit of fast-talk, is it also appropriate to ignore rolls if someone is a master of fencing and begins describing how he parries each blow and stabs his enemies through the heart?

Yes.


At what point is the line drawn? Player/DM fiat? Then we are at a standstill.
When a player has no knowledge of the subject? Then we acknowledge social rolls as acceptable.

Use mechanics for what you don't know how to represent through playing as it is. It tends to work out well. If the GM is unable to work out how to handle something, he's either inept or distracted, and neither are signs of a particularly good GM.


Solely in combat? Then we recognise that the argument of "giving a good speech" falls by matter of comparison with the solving of a puzzle with cryptology experience, or fighting a battle with fencing or kendo or etc experience.

Not necessarily. The thing is that D&D's combat mechanics have always been more in-depth than the rest of the game. Are you really playing D&D if you're not using any of the system? You are if you're using at least some of it, and it serves its purpose well enough if you just use the combat half.


Personally I think a system of rolling -before- you speak is probably a better idea...

I don't. Again, and as I've said many, many times before, I'd rather not roll at all. If I'm rolling before, I have no opportunity to have my roleplay effect the game, and it is, in essence, going by the dice. If I'm rolling after, my roleplaying may have no effect at all due to a poor roll, and then it serves no purpose.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 05:03 PM
Matthew, thank you for your honest, clear, and thoughtful responses.

No problem, same to you.



That, of course, is definitely true. The interview info was interesting, but not ultimately that useful, as of course the designer of AD&D would prefer the AD&D style, and argue in favor of it. I would love to see a panel discussion of David Cook, Monte Cook, and James Wyatt. That would be *awesome*.

Yes, indeed. I recall reading from one of Monte's blogs that David Cook was the 'Rock Star' of TSR when Monte joined. It would be fascinating to see them all interact on the subject.



I still don't see the mechanics as 'how to play'. Playing is much more than mechanics; we both seem to agree on that.
Also, I think that the people who play are more likely to shape how mechanics are used, than the mechanics are to shape the people who play.

That's an interesting idea, and probably also true. That said, there must be some common ground (and basis for it) if D20 is played similarly across diverse groups, which I always supposed to stem from the rulebooks. For my part, much of my formative influence came from Dragon and exposure to older players at a Game Club (I say older, but not by more than maybe four or five years).



What exactly made removing certain bits of the mechanics difficult? Honestly, from the sound of it, you were more trying to hybridize 2e and 3e, not just change a few rules. Obviously, if a system is so completely different from what you want, you should use a different system.

Ah, complicated. Basically, I have tried various tacts with D20, but the more I changed, the more I wanted to change. My actual House Rule Document for playing D20 consists of only about a score of rule changes, but I wanted to make a lot more; same problem as Pathfinder, really. :smallwink: However, it was at that point I realised I might as well be playing AD&D and discovered C&C.

One thing I have learned in these sorts of discussions is that some people are more comfortable removing mechanics from a complex system and others are more comfortable adding rules to a simple system. I am in the latter group; in general, I almost always prefer to start at the beginning and work forwards or upwards.



I feel we are a bit off-topic, though.

The issue at hand is whether the mechanics alter play style, which is not directly related to the ease or lack thereof of altering the rules.

No doubt.



I believe, from my experience, that play style is influenced but not controlled by mechanics.

Agreed.



Perhaps the issue here is that 3e allows for a different (and, to 2e fans, less desirable) play style that is much harder to do in 2e, namely, munchkinery (aka 'trying to win D&D').

Again though, that has much more to do with the players/DM than the system. I know people who munchkined 2e, and people who do just the opposite in 3e (and even in more mechanically-oriented games, like HERO).

More than likely. In many ways D20 'normalised' and embraced what I previously would have called 'powergaming' or 'munchkinnery', but is now known as optimisation, or more interestingly 'rules mastery'.



I don't believe it's against the rules of the forum to point out that your goals are better served with another game, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were. Regardless, that's effectively what Frosty is saying.

It wasn't so much what was said, but the manner in which it was conveyed.

Raum
2008-05-15, 06:04 PM
Do mechanics really influence playstyle?

I mean, all that much?Certainly!


I'd like to hear mostly from the grognards. How differently do you play 3e from 1e?It's probably easier to see by switching between very different current systems, but my D&D game play has changed over the years as well. Some of that is undoubtedly due to differences in maturity and focus, but I'll try and list a few differences caused by the system.
1. Skills & item creation. In AD&D I almost always had at least one 'creation' proficiency. Weapon Smithing and Armor Smithing were the most common. Moving to a skill point system in 3.0 changed that...it's much harder to dedicate the points to a skill you'll only use off camera when you have so many you'll need in game play. Besides, you'll need to level significantly in 3+ to make quality items. In previous versions you could make worthwhile non-magic items when you needed it...at low levels when you couldn't afford and hadn't found magic items.
2. Combat pre-feats. Before feats we tended to make ad hoc calls on how to accomplish something cool. Want to run up a wall and flip over your attacker's head to hit him from behind? Roll Dexterity. Want to leap in to attack before rushing off to help an ally? Roll something... Now the answer is simply "you need a feat for that". It's made combat less creative - more tactical possibly but affected less by role play.
3. Fate / drama / benny points. Games used to be deadlier. Often with permanent death because we couldn't find or afford a resurrection. Now a well timed Fate point can save you from dying.
4. Encounter levels. There often seems to be an expectation of never encountering anything you can't beat. I remember running more often than in recent games...
5. "Balance." Sigh, don't really want to start on this but casters weren't nearly as bad when they were subject to casting times. It was far easier to interrupt them.

There are other differences in my historical gaming vs more recent, but I'm not sure they're due to game mechanics. I can barely stand even short dungeon crawls these days - they used to be a staple. Role play has changed, there's less of the "it's forbidden therefore I want to build a character to do it!"


<snipping>
I think playstyle is much less influenced by mechanics than the AD&Defenders seem to want to believe.The influence is there. But it is just an influence and not a straight jacket.

fendrin
2008-05-15, 06:29 PM
That's an interesting idea, and probably also true. That said, there must be some common ground (and basis for it) if D20 is played similarly across diverse groups, which I always supposed to stem from the rulebooks.
I would more attribute it to our shared culture. For instance, I just started playing a game with a bunch of anime-fan college kids who are completely violating every precept of what the internet would tell us that anime kids do with D&D. One of the things that happens a lot on the internet is the proliferation of certain ideas, and they become very entrenched in our thought processes. For instance, character optimization. We all know about CoDzillas and Pun-Pun and builds that do 18 bajillion damage on a charge. What we lose track of is that most people don't play that way. It's like looking at the giant lego sculptures that some people make and assuming that's the way that all kids play with legos. [My last serious foray into legos involved servos, sensors, a boat-load of C++... and college credit :smallamused:]. Most COers I have talked to CO because they can. It's another fun thing they can do with their favorite building-blocks, er, ruleset.


For my part, much of my formative influence came from Dragon and exposure to older players at a Game Club (I say older, but not by more than maybe four or five years).
For me, it was bunch of other college kids ('cause I didn't get into D&D until college), most of whom were slightly younger than myself. That, and way too much time poring over the few 2e books I owned (a duct-taped PHB and couple of the skills and powers books). My first 'roleplaying' exeriences were completely freeform games my brother and I made up that were essentially what Cainen is describing. We even called it 'Dungeons and Dragons' because we had heard the name somewhere before. Not that either of us had ever seen one of the rulebooks. I couldn't have been more than 10 or 11 at the time...


Ah, complicated. Basically, I have tried various tacts with D20, but the more I changed, the more I wanted to change. My actual House Rule Document for playing D20 consists of only about a score of rule changes, but I wanted to make a lot more; same problem as Pathfinder, really. :smallwink: However, it was at that point I realised I might as well be playing AD&D or C&C.

One thing I have learned in these sorts of discussions is that some people are more comfortable removing mechanics from a complex system and others are more comfortable adding rules to a simple system. I am in the latter group; in general, I almost always prefer to start at the beginning and work forwards or upwards.I'm the other way, I guess. The one time I wrote up a house rule doc, it had somewhere in the vicinity of 50 changes. Most were small (i.e. "Monks are proficient with daggers, light maces, and hand-axes, and can use them as 'special monk weapons'", "all characters are assumed to have Weapon Finesse", "hobgoblins are LA +0", "Spiked armor and shields do not exist"), or were just indications of optional rules being used (i.e. "LA buyback allowed"). I only used it once, and the players didn't really mind much, because I organized it like the PHB. They said it was no more difficult than referring to errata. Then I lost it in a hard drive crash :smallmad:. After that, I mostly played as-is, because 3.5 works well enough for me and it just never felt worth it to re-do all that work.


More than likely. In many ways D20 'normalised' and embraced what I previously would have called 'powergaming' or 'munchkinnery', but is now known as optimisation, or more interestingly 'rules mastery'. Ah, now this I will disagree with. I think that d20 enabled munchkinery, but I don't think it was a conscious design choice. That group I mentioned before? Not one optimizer in the bunch. These are kids who started on 3.5, and have played little else.

I on the other hand, made a CoDzilla in 2e :smallredface:.

Mike_G
2008-05-15, 06:59 PM
Neither do I - if I have a choice, that is. Often, I'll get brickwalled due to the GM's inappropriate response to an action, or due to other issues. Correlation may not indicate causation, but pulling off maneuvers that noone else in the party can do to flank the enemy -then- critically failing my attack roll every time is going to discourage me from trying anything creative. It's happened without fail every time I've tried to end a battle prematurely through intelligent, not-covered-by-the-rules tactics.



I had the same problem you are complaining of, but more in AD&D. If my Fighter tried to do anything but whack a guy with his sword, the DM was likely to disallow it or sabotage it. To this day, the phrase, "you can't climb that wall. You're a Fighter!" makes me reach for a knife.

In 3.5, at least the mechanic exists, for the DM to use or ignore. The game doesn't come to a screeching halt while he figure out what chance the Dwarf in Banded Mail with a 13 Dex has to swing from a chandelier. In AD&D with no guideline, it could be a "flip a coin" decision, a 20 minute long excercise in physics, or just "He can't. He's a Fighter."

So I find the rules allow me to do more, not less, by providing the mechanic.

Cainen
2008-05-15, 07:13 PM
So I find the rules allow me to do more, not less, by providing the mechanic.

Edit post and check the Delete Post button. Never understood why people typed "oops, double post" in an edited message.

Anyways, that's not necessarily true. I've found that there are more 3.X GMs that play the way you illustrated than there are 2E GMs that play the way I did, and honestly the system seems to slant towards the other side more. "If you don't have a feat for it, you can't do it" has been the norm in EVERY game I've played in, and considering how sparingly you get feats with anything but the Fighter, it's a dealbreaker.

Matthew
2008-05-15, 08:29 PM
I would more attribute it to our shared culture. For instance, I just started playing a game with a bunch of anime-fan college kids who are completely violating every precept of what the internet would tell us that anime kids do with D&D. One of the things that happens a lot on the internet is the proliferation of certain ideas, and they become very entrenched in our thought processes. For instance, character optimization. We all know about CoDzillas and Pun-Pun and builds that do 18 bajillion damage on a charge. What we lose track of is that most people don't play that way. It's like looking at the giant lego sculptures that some people make and assuming that's the way that all kids play with legos. [My last serious foray into legos involved servos, sensors, a boat-load of C++... and college credit :smallamused:]. Most COers I have talked to CO because they can. It's another fun thing they can do with their favorite building-blocks, er, ruleset.

That's certainly possible. I know for sure that most people don't optimise properly, but I suspect that many would if they knew how. A few years ago I occasionally attended my University Game Club, which was often populated with many 'anime kids' (18-21). Those were some of the most awful stereotyped games I ever bore witness to. It was absolutely horrible, but very few of them understood the rules of the game. That was definitely not caused by the system, but I am pretty sure the system enabled at least some of it.
That said, I have seen AD&D games go exactly the same way. A skilled DM and good players makes all the difference.



For me, it was bunch of other college kids ('cause I didn't get into D&D until college), most of whom were slightly younger than myself. That, and way too much time poring over the few 2e books I owned (a duct-taped PHB and couple of the skills and powers books). My first 'roleplaying' exeriences were completely freeform games my brother and I made up that were essentially what Cainen is describing. We even called it 'Dungeons and Dragons' because we had heard the name somewhere before. Not that either of us had ever seen one of the rulebooks. I couldn't have been more than 10 or 11 at the time...

Heh, heh. My very first experience was Hero Quest, followed closely by Advanced Hero Quest. For a long while we tried to puzzle out the rules to War Hammer Fantasy Roleplay from various White Dwarf Articles and a couple of supplements; in the end, I bought the rulebook, which made things a lot clearer and put an end to our 'wacky D12 Critical Hit Chart'. Later, we got into Basic Dungeons & Dragons and then Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Played a lot of systems after that, particularly a skill based (gritty and low magic) Home Brew RPG Adventure Roleplaying. That was light on combat and long on story, mainly because combat was frickin' deadly (We had been playing Role Master immediately before that).



I'm the other way, I guess. The one time I wrote up a house rule doc, it had somewhere in the vicinity of 50 changes. Most were small (i.e. "Monks are proficient with daggers, light maces, and hand-axes, and can use them as 'special monk weapons'", "all characters are assumed to have Weapon Finesse", "hobgoblins are LA +0", "Spiked armor and shields do not exist"), or were just indications of optional rules being used (i.e. "LA buyback allowed"). I only used it once, and the players didn't really mind much, because I organized it like the PHB. They said it was no more difficult than referring to errata. Then I lost it in a hard drive crash :smallmad:. After that, I mostly played as-is, because 3.5 works well enough for me and it just never felt worth it to re-do all that work.

Yeah, that's the sort of thing I started with; twas the thin edge of the wedge! Matt's House Rules (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3573514&postcount=5). I also started going a bit Feat crazy...

[House] Simple Weapons (Alternative) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31637)
[House] Martial Weapons (Alternative) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31788)
[Feat] Powerful Attack
[Feat] Skilful Defence (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34241)
[Feat] Two Weapon Fighting (Alternative) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31337)
[Feat] Two Weapon Defence (Alternative) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31338)
[Feat] Two Weapon Mastery (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44663)
[Feat] Shield Block (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43960)
[Feat] Avoidance (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46955)
[Feat] Weapon Mastery (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31267)
[Feat] Even Handed (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1793539)
[Feat] Mobile Two Weapon Fighting (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1798151)
[Feat] Spear Charge (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31249)
[Feat] Rapid Shooting (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34559)
[Feat] Dodge (Alternative) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34242)
[Feat] Parry (Alternative) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34244)
[Feat] Block (Alternative) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34243)

I think it was a combination of a lack of simultaneous movement, iterative attacks, saving throws, skill points, experience for NPCs(!?) and casting segments that finally pushed me over the edge. I wanted D20 to be 'pick up and play', but I wasn't satisfied with the default rules. I wouldn't want to DM it again, though I would probably play a pickup game. :smallwink:



Ah, now this I will disagree with. I think that d20 enabled munchkinery, but I don't think it was a conscious design choice. That group I mentioned before? Not one optimizer in the bunch. These are kids who started on 3.5, and have played little else.

Ah right, I think you're misunderstanding me. I would have considered the 'normal' power ratings of 3.5 [i.e. Wealth by Level, et al.] and the expectation of reaching above Level Nine as a normal part of play to be pretty 'munchkinny'. Or rather if someone had shown me a 'typical' fifteenth level D20 character, I would have marked them as having too liberal a DM.

fendrin
2008-05-15, 10:37 PM
A skilled DM and good players makes all the difference.
Indeed. Which is why I say the influence of mechanics on play style is minimal at most.


Heh, heh. My very first experience was Hero Quest Oh yeah, good ol' HQ. How could I forget that? Yeah I played Hero Quest after the 'freeform D&D' and before real (A)D&D. My favorite character was the Elf. I still like gishes... :smallamused:


Yeah, that's the sort of thing I started with; twas the thin edge of the wedge! Matt's House Rules (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3573514&postcount=5). I also started going a bit Feat crazy...Wow... I like the way you think... If I ever run a 3.5 game again I'll be using some of that.


Ah right, I think you're misunderstanding me. I would have considered the 'normal' power ratings of 3.5 [i.e. Wealth by Level, et al.] and the expectation of reaching above Level Nine as a normal part of play to be pretty 'munchkinny'. Or rather if someone had shown me a 'typical' fifteenth level D20 character, I would have marked them as having too liberal a DM.Ah, yes, I see what you are saying. I myself rarely play above level 7 or 8.

Matthew
2008-05-16, 01:26 AM
Indeed. Which is why I say the influence of mechanics on play style is minimal at most.

Ah well, then we have the question "How does a DM become skilled?" I think with a game like D20 the 'training wheels' might never come off and he'll never ride a BMX for fear he might fall off (I know, metaphors are dumb, but they are fun). My view is that whilst a system may not overmuch affect the playstyle of experienced hands, it does influence 'new blood' and the formation of their ideas about RPGs.
That said, I freely admit that I have no substantive data to support such a theory, so it remains untested and it is just as likely that a system has minimal impact on even entirely new groups.



Oh yeah, good ol' HQ. How could I forget that? Yeah I played Hero Quest after the 'freeform D&D' and before real (A)D&D. My favorite character was the Elf. I still like gishes... :smallamused:

Amazing production values on that game; I remember reading a Dragon review bemoaning the inability of TSR to compete with the content of Hero Quest, Advanced Hero Quest and War Hammer Quest. As an owner of Dragon Strike, Dragon Quest and First Quest, I can quite understand. I played the Dwarf, as I recall. The Barbarian, Elf, Wizard and the Knight (from AHQ) all ended up as War Hammer Fantasy Roleplay characters and rose to prominence in our campaigns, before eventually descending into madness (damn insanity point mechanic :smallwink:).



Wow... I like the way you think... If I ever run a 3.5 game again I'll be using some of that.

Glad to be of some small service. :smallsmile: I had scads of House Rules by the end; one of my favourite ideas doesn't appear on that list, but it was to do the following:


22) Feats no longer received every third level (though a character still receives either a Feat or Class Ability at Level 1).

23) A character receives either a Feat, Class Ability or Caster Level at each Character Level.


Never implemented that, though, so it was never playtested or refined to deal with any problems (looks like it would work great for Fighters, Wizards, Sorcerers and Clerics, but not so much for Barbarians, Rangers, Paladins, Bards, Rogues or Monks).



Ah, yes, I see what you are saying. I myself rarely play above level 7 or 8.
Same for me.

PnP Fan
2008-05-16, 07:42 AM
Fair enough, but it's supposed to present an interesting 'puzzle' challenge.


Yes, that's all quite true, but I would say 'rules heavy' systems also require a certain type of group [i.e. one that enjoys and is willing to learn lots of rules].

There are plenty of options to put together "puzzle challenges" that are beyond the scope of the Search/Disable Device skill set. I've playtested one Dragon module that specifically involved a fairly complex puzzle, that you had to solve in order to get to certain parts of the dungeon. It was a visual puzzle, as I recall, that involved connecting the drawings on a disc to various statues or pieces of artwork in a room. Very much like a puzzle from Myst or Riven. The key was that you couldn't access any of the mechanical bits (or maybe they were magical bits, don't remember) without destroying the room. (okay, maybe it wasn't complex, but it wasn't even obvious when we played that it was a puzzle room, we just thought it was a dead end room used for ceremonial stuff. . .) So those options still exist, they just don't exist in the realm of simple needle traps on a locked chest.

And I'll agree, rules heavy games do require a certain type of group. It's just that my highly personal, anecdotal evidence seems to support the hypothesis that those groups are either more common, or at least easier to find.

And yes, I realize that mentioning things like playtesting makes me sound like some kind of poseur or something. It wasn't intentional, and I apologize if that's what came across.

I undestand your concern though. You don't want your games to devolve into "I roll a die . . . and succeed !". (and I agree!) At the same time, I don't want my games to get stalled out at, "well gee. . . I don't know anything about nuclear reactors, what should I do?" or "Of course my character is good at that. . . because I say so."
I think the key is to find a happy medium. . . a compromise, if you will. What I find works for me is to give bonuses to players who describe what they are doing, and still roll the die. A well thought out action might still fail, but is more likely to succeed than someone who didn't contribute to everyone's entertainment by describing their cool action.

Not to turn this into a 4E thread, but if 4E is as similar to SAGA edition SW as everyone seems to think, 4E might be leaning towards that happy medium. Less rules, more play. No promises of course. . .

fendrin
2008-05-16, 09:59 AM
Ah well, then we have the question "How does a DM become skilled?" I think with a game like D20 the 'training wheels' might never come off and he'll never ride a BMX for fear he might fall off (I know, metaphors are dumb, but they are fun). My view is that whilst a system may not overmuch affect the playstyle of experienced hands, it does influence 'new blood' and the formation of their ideas about RPGs.

I do understand the concern, but I don't know any adults with training wheels, but I do know people who won't ride a bike at all because they fell off, got hurt, and gave up.

Moving the analogy back to gaming, I know people who had such a bad experience with their first DM that they stopped playing altogether. I feel (though like you cannot backup that feeling with hard data) that this is less likely to happen in 3e than in 2e.


Not to turn this into a 4E thread, but if 4E is as similar to SAGA edition SW as everyone seems to think, 4E might be leaning towards that happy medium. Less rules, more play. No promises of course. . .
I share those hopes...

Matthew
2008-05-16, 04:58 PM
I do understand the concern, but I don't know any adults with training wheels, but I do know people who won't ride a bike at all because they fell off, got hurt, and gave up.

Moving the analogy back to gaming, I know people who had such a bad experience with their first DM that they stopped playing altogether. I feel (though like you cannot backup that feeling with hard data) that this is less likely to happen in 3e than in 2e.

Absolutely; to be clear, I think the three core D20 books are a great introduction to RPGs. Sure they had design problems and made many design choices I simply disagree with, but that is to be expected of any RPG. Similarly, the art style is not to my taste, but it clearly appealed to a wide audience. What I strongly dislike is the direction the game went in after that, which did nothing to actually 'improve' the game or introduce DMs to more styles, instead it simply expanded the 'options'.



And I'll agree, rules heavy games do require a certain type of group. It's just that my highly personal, anecdotal evidence seems to support the hypothesis that those groups are either more common, or at least easier to find.

Maybe, I don't know. Of course, my experience has pretty much been the opposite; sure we play Role Master from time to time, but most of my friends seem to prefer 'lighter' systems for RPGs.



There are plenty of options to put together "puzzle challenges" that are beyond the scope of the Search/Disable Device skill set. I've playtested one Dragon module that specifically involved a fairly complex puzzle, that you had to solve in order to get to certain parts of the dungeon. It was a visual puzzle, as I recall, that involved connecting the drawings on a disc to various statues or pieces of artwork in a room. Very much like a puzzle from Myst or Riven. The key was that you couldn't access any of the mechanical bits (or maybe they were magical bits, don't remember) without destroying the room. (okay, maybe it wasn't complex, but it wasn't even obvious when we played that it was a puzzle room, we just thought it was a dead end room used for ceremonial stuff. . .) So those options still exist, they just don't exist in the realm of simple needle traps on a locked chest.

Okay, this is an interesting point. In RPGs (or D&D in particular) there are generally three types of challenges:

1) Character

2) Player

3) Player Character

Of these, character based challenges are least desirable to me, as they do not require the player to do more than declare his character is performing an action and roll a die or compare numbers to resolve. Traps in D20 fall heavily into this category (though there are exceptions). Combat in both games often devolves into precisely this [I hit, I miss, I hit]. Some things have to be entirely character based, but mainly to move the game along and not as a means of entertaining the players.

Player based challenges are the most desirable to me, as they basically take the form of players making decisions, which is what drives the game. What adventure do you undertake? Do you cast heal? Where do you go? Do you charge? What do you do? D20 made character creation more of a player based challenge, which is something I deplore. However, it also made combat more of an explicitly player based challenge. Unfortunately (for me), it concentrated on mechanical choices (rules based tactical combat) that were heavily linked to character 'build' resource management, instead of looking for more creative methods.

Player Character based challenges are the middle ground. In fact, all of the above usually involve some degree of compromise, few challenges are completely character or player based. My preferred arrangement is for a challenge to be as 'player based' as possible with only a small amount of 'character based' input.



I undestand your concern though. You don't want your games to devolve into "I roll a die . . . and succeed !". (and I agree!) At the same time, I don't want my games to get stalled out at, "well gee. . . I don't know anything about nuclear reactors, what should I do?" or "Of course my character is good at that. . . because I say so."
I think the key is to find a happy medium. . . a compromise, if you will. What I find works for me is to give bonuses to players who describe what they are doing, and still roll the die. A well thought out action might still fail, but is more likely to succeed than someone who didn't contribute to everyone's entertainment by describing their cool action.

Sure. As I say, I have messed around will all kinds of alternatives and some things are simply better left to mechanisation (or simply glossed over). Your middle ground sounds to me as though the 'player' part of the challenge is subordinate to the 'character' part, I prefer it to be the other way around as much as possible.

AstralFire
2008-05-16, 05:11 PM
Ah well, then we have the question "How does a DM become skilled?" I think with a game like D20 the 'training wheels' might never come off and he'll never ride a BMX for fear he might fall off (I know, metaphors are dumb, but they are fun). My view is that whilst a system may not overmuch affect the playstyle of experienced hands, it does influence 'new blood' and the formation of their ideas about RPGs.
That said, I freely admit that I have no substantive data to support such a theory, so it remains untested and it is just as likely that a system has minimal impact on even entirely new groups.

I began Pencil and Paper gaming four months before the introduction of 3.5. A few years later, I'm generally acknowledged in both the real-life groups and online groups I have run and/or participated in, several of which include older players, as an excellent GM for my mastery of NPC characterization and action, and an excellent PC for my control over PC dialogue, traits, and also my control of optimization.

Moreover, my current group consists almost entirely of players as new or newer, and some of them are among the best and most creative roleplayers I've seen. We very rarely use flat roll resolution rather than descriptive thought and creativity.

TL;DR? From my experience as a fresh face in tabletop gaming, 3.x does not have any sort of negative impact on the 'RP' ability of new RPers.

Matthew
2008-05-16, 05:20 PM
Sure, I don't doubt it. As I said, it is a theory about a trend with no data to back it up beyond what I have observed at the tabletop and at online forums. It may be the case that you are a great DM despite D20; it might be that you are a great DM because of D20; it might be the case that you're a big fish in a small pond. I'm not in a position to judge.

To put it another way, there's not going to be a lot of people coming out of the woodwork to say they are poor Dungeon Masters.

And to be clear, as I said above, I think D20 is a great introduction for new players.

Raum
2008-05-16, 05:38 PM
Okay, this is an interesting point. In RPGs (or D&D in particular) there are generally three types of challenges:

1) Character

2) Player

3) Player Character

Of these, character based challenges are least desirable to me, as they do not require the player to do more than declare his character is performing an action and roll a die or compare numbers to resolve. Traps in D20 fall heavily into this category (though there are exceptions). Combat in both games often devolves into precisely this [I hit, I miss, I hit]. Some things have to be entirely character based, but mainly to move the game along and not as a means of entertaining the players.

Player based challenges are the most desirable to me, as they basically take the form of players making decisions, which is what drives the game. What adventure do you undertake? Do you cast heal? Where do you go? Do you charge? What do you do? D20 made character creation more of a player based challenge, which is something I deplore. However, it also made combat more of an explicitly player based challenge. Unfortunately (for me), it concentrated on mechanical choices (rules based tactical combat) that were heavily linked to character 'build' resource management, instead of looking for more creative methods.

Player Character based challenges are the middle ground. In fact, all of the above usually involve some degree of compromise, few challenges are completely character or player based. My preferred arrangement is for a challenge to be as 'player based' as possible with only a small amount of 'character based' input.That's an interesting way to split challenges but I'm not sure I see the differences you're pointing out. For example, given a couple of fighters in combat...the choice of whether to grapple or swing a sword appears to be a Player choice while the challenge of hitting with either becomes a Character challenge. Or is it a combined Player Character challenge? Given a social challenge between said fighter and a merchant buying loot, the choice of whom to sell to is Player based while the appraisal / diplomacy challenge of getting the maximum return seems Character based. Or possibly combined as above. Even a riddle would be a combined challenge, the player needs to solve it but may get clues from character research / intelligence checks. How many choices / challenges won't be a combined challenge?

Matthew
2008-05-16, 05:47 PM
Bah, models have limitations! :smallwink:

Sorry, I seem to have been unclear. Almost all challenges are 'Player Character', but they can be skewed more towards one type than the other. I identified the extremes chiefly for contextual purposes (or to define the limits). Few challenges are entirely 'Player' or 'Character' based.

Raum
2008-05-16, 05:55 PM
I think I understand, thanks for the clarification. :)

It seems to me you're saying the dividing line (if there is one) is in how much the mechanical rules are used. If so, wouldn't game systems push players towards one or the other? A rules heavy game will weight the Character side of the challenge scale while a rules light game (such as Over the Edge) would lean towards the Player side of the scale.

Matthew
2008-05-16, 06:13 PM
Yeah, pretty much.

As a theory it helps to explain my experiences of playing D20 and what I have observed of other people who play it. As I say, though, it's just a theory with no real quantative data.

The Player/Character challenge model does a a good job of explaining that, but I chiefly thought of it as a way of describing 'skilled roleplayers'. This comes up time and again in the 1e DMG and I am still not certain what was meant. D&D isn't like chess, so what constitutes skill? Is it the same thing as 'Rules Mastery'? I tend to think that was not what was meant, which pretty much leaves us with 'creative thought'. As I recall, psychologists used to say that D&D encouraged creative thinking.

Mut
2008-05-17, 02:43 AM
Hi there,


I'd like to hear mostly from the grognards. How differently do you play 3e from 1e?

...

I think playstyle is much less influenced by mechanics than the AD&Defenders seem to want to believe.

Short answer: I play 3e a lot better -- mainly 'cuz I was, I dunno, eight or so back then. :)

I think that playstyle isn't directly tied to the system being used -- one of my formative 2e experiences was a game that was almost 100% wall-to-wall combat mechanics, and the 3e game I'm in right now is pretty free-wheeling and RP-heavy. I'd say the tenor of the game depends more on the DM than anything else.

That said, I suspect that there's an indirect link -- people's playstyles and how they think about gaming depend on what systems they're used to, what they grew up with. Old-timers might be approaching 3e with a 1e mentality (as it were) -- no need to plan and optimize builds because the progression was pretty much fixed, for example, and an off-the-cuff, improvised way of dealing with non-combat mechanics. In my case, I played a bunch of Call of Cthulhu as well as D&D, so non-rogues having skills for climb, search, spot, bluff, and so on is perfectly natural to me (but feats and prestige classes leave me cold).

horseboy
2008-05-17, 03:34 AM
For somebody like me, having rules that cover all, most, or even more than just the basic situations that would need to be covered (and by need to be covered, I include basic combat, magic, level systems, and monsters pretty much), is oppressive most of the time. I like 2nd edition because it's not cluttered up with a huge pile of rules that I don't need or want.What makes me curious, is why would having the DM decide you have a 40% chance at succeeding be "better" than you deciding your character had +8 on a d20 roll. Personally, I agree with Frosty and let the left hand of rollplaying work with the right hand of roleplaying.


good stuff+1. My players are too competent a human being to be not hit by an engine governor. They've got the crazy, mad skillz.

Does my playstyle change depending on mechanics? Absolutely. That's why I buy new mechanics. If you're just going to play the same way every game, every time, why buy different systems?

Charity
2008-05-17, 06:44 AM
To put it another way, there's not going to be a lot of people coming out of the woodwork to say they are poor Dungeon Masters.

And to be clear, as I said above, I think D20 is a great introduction for new players.

I'm a rubbish DM you hear me, absolutely piss poor, now stop making me do it.


Does my playstyle change depending on mechanics? Absolutely. That's why I buy new mechanics. If you're just going to play the same way every game, every time, why buy different systems?

I think you might be not viewing playstyle in the same way as other folk here.
Playing a boardgame I will always adopt the same playstyle, try to win by using aggressive tactics, other folk are defensive players others use still different playstyles. Does this mean we only need 1 boardgame? No clearly even while using the same playstyle we can see that different games give us different choices, they allow for different feels and genres, we prefer the mechanics of one over another etc.

Mike_G
2008-05-17, 07:24 AM
"If you don't have a feat for it, you can't do it" has been the norm in EVERY game I've played in, and considering how sparingly you get feats with anything but the Fighter, it's a dealbreaker.


See, here I'm going to pull the patented 1e "that's just bad DMing" argument.

Most Feats even have clearly defined "How this action can work without this Feat" mechanics, so you should be able to do, or attempt, most normal actions. Some things, maybe you can't try untrained, but most things I'd say in a game (Tumbling, disarming, etc.) have rules in 3e, and didn't in 1e, which led to inconsistent, game stalling rulings by the DM and sometimes heated arguments like "Why the Hell can't a guy with a 15 Dex even try to jump over the table?"

I often had 1e DMs try to play it RAW, which is just insane. 3e RAW is silly, but not insane.

Rutee
2008-05-17, 07:27 AM
I think you might be not viewing playstyle in the same way as other folk here.
I don't think you're on the same page. Play style in this thread seems to refer to manner, rather then strategy (Do you play DnD 3e differently from DnD 1e, or GURPS, or Exalted, or whatnot, and why?)



See, here I'm going to pull the patented 1e "that's just bad DMing" argument.

While you can often times take the action, they have an irritating tendency to be utterly ineffective (without the feat)

Charity
2008-05-17, 07:35 AM
I was using the boardgame analogy to dispute the we only need one game otherwise section of Horseboys position, not to demonstrate what I think playstyle is.
I was using boardgames as they are simple enough not to have a variety of playstyles.

hamlet
2008-05-17, 08:01 AM
What makes me curious, is why would having the DM decide you have a 40% chance at succeeding be "better" than you deciding your character had +8 on a d20 roll. Personally, I agree with Frosty and let the left hand of rollplaying work with the right hand of roleplaying.


Because very often, the rules allow for blatant stupidity that was completely unintended, like using your bluff skill that's insanely maxed out to fast talk a Great Wyrm Gold Dragon into surrenduring his horde out of fear. Or (another actual game experience for me) a human character claiming that he can lift up the corner of a castle because he has a 25 strength and can take 20 on the check (it was "just a little castle" he claimed).

On the other hand, working with the DM to apply a solution that fits this circumstance gets me the chance to perform the task I want, but doesn't leave the door open down the road for blatant stupidity because this was a situational ruling.

I'd rather work with the DM to get a situational ruling in place, than have to have the DM override the rules as written in order to curtail blatant idiocy.

Rutee
2008-05-17, 08:06 AM
I was using the boardgame analogy to dispute the we only need one game otherwise section of Horseboys position, not to demonstrate what I think playstyle is.
I was using boardgames as they are simple enough not to have a variety of playstyles.

Hm.. I dunno, even then it still seems like you're not on the same page at all. There's just a total disconnect somewhere reading your posts. Maybe it's just the hour. It's Crawl Home Drunk-o-clock here.


Because very often, the rules allow for blatant stupidity that was completely unintended, like using your bluff skill that's insanely maxed out to fast talk a Great Wyrm Gold Dragon into surrenduring his horde out of fear. Or (another actual game experience for me) a human character claiming that he can lift up the corner of a castle because he has a 25 strength and can take 20 on the check (it was "just a little castle" he claimed).

If the Dragon doesn't have any sense motive, I'm inclined to wonder "Why not?" But I actually like the idea of people so supernaturally silver tongued that they can make /anything/ sound like a good idea to a rube.

Raum
2008-05-17, 09:15 AM
See, here I'm going to pull the patented 1e "that's just bad DMing" argument.That's an easy accusation to make but I'm not sure it stands up under scrutiny.


Most Feats even have clearly defined "How this action can work without this Feat" mechanics, so you should be able to do, or attempt, most normal actions. Some things, maybe you can't try untrained, but most things I'd say in a game (Tumbling, disarming, etc.) have rules in 3e, and didn't in 1e, which led to inconsistent, game stalling rulings by the DM and sometimes heated arguments like "Why the Hell can't a guy with a 15 Dex even try to jump over the table?"A fairly superficial glance over a few feats shows three basic types, those giving a bonus to an action, those allowing an action to bypass a penalty (such as an AoO), and those allowing an action which couldn't be done otherwise. The first two types do fall into the category you describe where the character should be able to make the attempt even without the feat. However only those giving a flat bonus are likely to be attempted on a regular basis. Feats allowing you to bypass a negative will only get used in situation where taking the negative consequences is worth the potential benefits.

But the most desirable / powerful feats are those allowing a character to make some action he couldn't previously. Given the limited number of feats available to characters these are what you're more likely to spend the slot on. In other words, Spring Attack, Power Attack, and whatever the current charge feats are, are the feats most useful to a fighter. Simple bonuses such as Acrobat or Agile are only likely to be used if they're a prerequisite for something the fighter wants.


I often had 1e DMs try to play it RAW, which is just insane. 3e RAW is silly, but not insane.RAW is a loaded term. To many it means abuse, to me it means your character can't move before and after attacking without the Spring Attack feat. In that sense, we tend to follow the rules as written. To do otherwise makes the feat valueless and penalizes the character who did take it.

Mike_G
2008-05-17, 09:49 AM
That's an easy accusation to make but I'm not sure it stands up under scrutiny.

A fairly superficial glance over a few feats shows three basic types, those giving a bonus to an action, those allowing an action to bypass a penalty (such as an AoO), and those allowing an action which couldn't be done otherwise. The first two types do fall into the category you describe where the character should be able to make the attempt even without the feat. However only those giving a flat bonus are likely to be attempted on a regular basis.


See, I'm OK with that. Feats should be special things that you train hard for. I don't mind that untrained chances are low. The fact that they exist as spelled out mechanics means I can try, and have an idea of what the rule is and what my chances are, and we don't stop the game while the DM and I debate the physics of the task, where neither of us is a skilled rock climber or physicist.




Feats allowing you to bypass a negative will only get used in situation where taking the negative consequences is worth the potential benefits.


Again, I'm fine with this. I can attempt to disarm someone without the training, but I'm likely to get hurt. If it's something I plan to use often, I practice it a lot. It becomes part of my character concept. I disarm because I would rather capture than kill. If I don't plan to use it, I don't wast the feat, but if I do want to try it, like I know the person is Dominated and I don't want to kill him, I take the chance. The fact that the rule is there means I can.



But the most desirable / powerful feats are those allowing a character to make some action he couldn't previously. Given the limited number of feats available to characters these are what you're more likely to spend the slot on. In other words, Spring Attack, Power Attack, and whatever the current charge feats are, are the feats most useful to a fighter. Simple bonuses such as Acrobat or Agile are only likely to be used if they're a prerequisite for something the fighter wants.

Once again, this is fine. Spring Attack allows for a distinct fighting style. I'm cool with you needing to train to do it well.

Some things, like power Attack, Weapon Finesse, etc, I think should be options available without a feat, since anyone can swing harder with less accuracy, or rely on precision rather than strength with a light weapon. These are easy houserules.

If the PA feat didn't exist, how would you interpret me saying "I wind up like Ted Williams and try to smack this guy into next week. If I don't kill him on one hit, I'm screwed, so I'll take a penalty to hit if I have to to make a kill more likely, since wounding him won't do me any good."



RAW is a loaded term. To many it means abuse, to me it means your character can't move before and after attacking without the Spring Attack feat. In that sense, we tend to follow the rules as written. To do otherwise makes the feat valueless and penalizes the character who did take it.

I don't mean it as abuse, just as the actual clearly spelled out rules in the book. Thieves of a given level have a 35% chance of Moving silently. Fighters have no value at all for sneaking. That's 1e RAW. All characters have a chance to sneak of D20+(dex bonus) + (ranks in Sneak) vs D20 + (Wis bonus) + ranks in Listen, modified by the DM as he sees fit via circumstance bonuses. That's 3e RAW. Less headache to try in 3e, IMO.

RAW doesn't account for every situation. It can't, given the nigh infinite things people will try. 1e had far fewer rules, and a handful of different task resolution systems. Lot's of stuff was just not covered by the RAW.

The 3e RAW cover much, much more, and the single task resolution system gives us the clear consistent guideline to resolve an action not covered. D20+bonuses vs DC or vs opposed roll.

So, in my experience, when a player has an idea not specifically fit to the archetypal things his character class does, (Smack things, if he's a Fighter) 1e was not helpful and 3e has been.

Not to say the skill and feat rules couldn't use some tweaking, just that I find their inclusion more liberating than confining, as some people do.

Matthew
2008-05-17, 10:15 AM
I don't mean it as abuse, just as the actual clearly spelled out rules in the book. Thieves of a given level have a 35% chance of Moving silently. Fighters have no value at all for sneaking.

Put down the gun, Mike! What does Moving Silently give you in AD&D - a bonus to Surprise. What's Surprise, an abstraction of sneaking.

Raum
2008-05-17, 10:34 AM
On Thieves sneaking in 1e and 2e - that was closer to true invisibility than simple stealth. In many ways it was better than invisibility, even someone who could see invisible couldn't see a thief sneaking successfully. Not really the same thing as 3e Hide / Move Silently.


So, in my experience, when a player has an idea not specifically fit to the archetypal things his character class does, (Smack things, if he's a Fighter) 1e was not helpful and 3e has been.

Not to say the skill and feat rules couldn't use some tweaking, just that I find their inclusion more liberating than confining, as some people do.Perhaps it's simply a difference in preferred play styles. To me, that entire third category of feats which allow you to do something you couldn't without them are limitations rather than enablers. Why should movement be limited to either before or after an attack without a feat? As you said, why shouldn't everyone be able to take a negative on accuracy for a bonus to damage? Or decide to use agility over brute force in an attack? Why shouldn't a fighter roll a dexterity check to see how quietly he can move? We did all of the above in AD&D at one time or another.

Previous versions left those decisions up to the DM. That certainly can have it's own set of issues, some DMs will be permissive others may be autocratic. But as long as your play style meshes with the DM's style, it's more flexible than detailing a set list of rules.

Perhaps it's also a limitation of gaming in general. More rules mean a more consistent model of the world across different groups, but they do so by limiting what can be done.

Rutee
2008-05-17, 10:40 AM
Previous versions left those decisions up to the DM. That certainly can have it's own set of issues, some DMs will be permissive others may be autocratic. But as long as your play style meshes with the DM's style, it's more flexible than detailing a set list of rules.
Mike's made it pretty clear that his GMs have been somewhat universal in saying "If it doesn't say you can, you can't." He has also explicitly said that his options were far more limited in 1e and 2e. I can surmise from this that the rules don't explicitly allow quite so much as they do in 3e, which also means they don't explicitly disallow quite so much.

The way I see it, a permissive GM is liable to waive a rule that gets in the way anyway, whereas a more autocratic one will stick tot he rules. Since it's easier to wave away what you don't want then it is to construct what you do, more is better.

Matthew
2008-05-17, 10:47 AM
Mike's made it pretty clear that his GMs have been somewhat universal in saying "If it doesn't say you can, you can't." He has also explicitly said that his options were far more limited in 1e and 2e. I can surmise from this that the rules don't explicitly allow quite so much as they do in 3e, which also means they don't explicitly disallow quite so much.

Mike'll correct me if I'm wrong, but I think his experiences were more of the 'endless arguments' type, where the DM ruled one way and they then spent an hour arguing whether a Fighter really could climb over a wall. Also, Mike was a 1e man and never played 2e, which was a lot more open about how you interpreted the rules. [Many arguments made here are only sustainable with regard to 2e. 1e was a much stricter system, apparently because it was intended for touranment play].



The way I see it, a permissive GM is liable to waive a rule that gets in the way anyway, whereas a more autocratic one will stick tot he rules. Since it's easier to wave away what you don't want then it is to construct what you do, more is better.

That's if it really is easier to remove rules than construct them. The problem is the same as above. The DM waives a rule away and then the game devolves into an hour of arguing about how he should 'play by the rules'.

Rutee
2008-05-17, 10:50 AM
Are we not discussing players who mesh with their GM's playstyles in this theoretical vacuum? Raum was, seemingly. Arguments for hours due to a clash in playstyle don't sync with that.

Mike_G
2008-05-17, 10:51 AM
Put down the gun, Mike! What does Moving Silently give you in AD&D - a bonus to Surprise. What's Surprise, an abstraction of sneaking.


I realize we're getting bogged down here.

I see how there are other rules that could conceivably be used to adjudicate sneaking, but they are, to me, counterintuitive. I don't see how Initiative has anything to do with being quite, although people have suggested it as a way to determine if you can sneak past the guards.


That aside. I view the rules guidelines. Here's a task resolution system. This is the basic way to determine success, and the DM should apply modifiers as he sees fit. I think that's superior to "Here's no system. Or many, depending on how you look at it The DM should just wing that mother. Every time. While he's in the middle of running a big fight with hordes of baddies and six players are all vying for attention." The concept of the DM applying modifiers specifically allows him to make as much ruling as he sees fit, but gives him a starting point.

I am always willing to toss a bad rule, or modify it. I find it easier than inventing a good rule on the fly.

I'd rather have a flimsy shovel than have to search the yard for a sharp stick if I want to dig a hole. You can always ignore the shovel and switch to the pointy stick if you like.

But, as far as playstyle, short of the forums and optimization boards, how much do you see players "building" characters differently, or playing them differently in the various editions? Like in actual practice, not as a message board exercise.

Raum
2008-05-17, 11:16 AM
Are we not discussing players who mesh with their GM's playstyles in this theoretical vacuum? Raum was, seemingly. Arguments for hours due to a clash in playstyle don't sync with that.Yes, though the "if players mesh..." is a big caveat. In my experience, more rules equate to more areas for the players and GMs to clash (and argue) on interpretations. Perhaps that's one reason I prefer lighter systems.


That aside. I view the rules guidelines. Here's a task resolution system. This is the basic way to determine success, and the DM should apply modifiers as he sees fit. Agreed! I think our differences may lie in my preferring broad guidelines while you appear to prefer specific guidelines for common situations. Have I misinterpreted your stance?


I think that's superior to "Here's no system. Or many, depending on how you look at it The DM should just wing that mother. Every time. While he's in the middle of running a big fight with hordes of baddies and six players are all vying for attention." The concept of the DM applying modifiers specifically allows him to make as much ruling as he sees fit, but gives him a starting point.Sure, but do you want situational lists of pregenerated modifiers or an expectation that the DM will create any modifier he thinks necessary on the fly? In my experience the second is faster and more immersive. Looking up modifiers on a table slow play down.


I am always willing to toss a bad rule, or modify it. I find it easier than inventing a good rule on the fly.

I'd rather have a flimsy shovel than have to search the yard for a sharp stick if I want to dig a hole. You can always ignore the shovel and switch to the pointy stick if you like.Not sure I agree. If I join a game of "D&D 3.5" I, as a player, have specific expectations in mind based on what I know of the rules. Switching my shovel to a pointy stick mid stream can be painful.


But, as far as playstyle, short of the forums and optimization boards, how much do you see players "building" characters differently, or playing them differently in the various editions? Like in actual practice, not as a message board exercise.I mentioned several differences in play styles in this post (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4327571&postcount=85). For another, possibly more obvious difference, what percentage of characters who's role is dealing damage in all situations use two hand weapons? If you've house ruled Power Attack you may not see it, but a large percentage of those in a fighter role use them because they're so much better mechanically than one hand plus shield. Yet, in previous editions, I can't remember playing a character with a two handed weapon.

Matthew
2008-05-17, 11:20 AM
Are we not discussing players who mesh with their GM's playstyles in this theoretical vacuum? Raum was, seemingly. Arguments for hours due to a clash in playstyle don't sync with that.

Aye, but that's the point. If your playstyles already coincide, it's unlikely you're going to be having the 'endless argument' problem. I have seen it happen (mainly when we were in our early teens), but whether we play AD&D or D20 it just doesn't anymore.



I realize we're getting bogged down here.

I see how there are other rules that could conceivably be used to adjudicate sneaking, but they are, to me, counterintuitive. I don't see how Initiative has anything to do with being quite, although people have suggested it as a way to determine if you can sneak past the guards.

Okay, I could explain this, but let's leave it for another thread.



That aside. I view the rules guidelines. Here's a task resolution system. This is the basic way to determine success, and the DM should apply modifiers as he sees fit. I think that's superior to "Here's no system. Or many, depending on how you look at it The DM should just wing that mother. Every time. While he's in the middle of running a big fight with hordes of baddies and six players are all vying for attention." The concept of the DM applying modifiers specifically allows him to make as much ruling as he sees fit, but gives him a starting point.

I am always willing to toss a bad rule, or modify it. I find it easier than inventing a good rule on the fly.

I'd rather have a flimsy shovel than have to search the yard for a sharp stick if I want to dig a hole. You can always ignore the shovel and switch to the pointy stick if you like.

Sure, but how big a deal is it to just invent a percentage chance (which is the 1e rule)? I dunno, it just all seems the same to me (in terms of outcome).



But, as far as playstyle, short of the forums and optimization boards, how much do you see players "building" characters differently, or playing them differently in the various editions? Like in actual practice, not as a message board exercise.

Good question; there's not much building involved in AD&D, as far as I'm aware (unless you start messing on with proficiencies). My experience of D20 was that people really were looking for the 'best' choice when figuring how to allocate feats and skill points, but that's not much removed from allocating attributes in a 'favourable' way. The only difference is the amount of time spent perusing rulebooks to come up with the 'best fit'.

As to playing the character, I doubt there's much difference in the portrayal of a D20 Fighter from an AD&D Fighter. The only differences lie in how the rules are then used to support that portrayal and how the player interacts with the campaign world.

Mike_G
2008-05-17, 11:45 AM
Aye, but that's the point. If your playstyles already coincide, it's unlikely you're going to be having the 'endless argument' problem. I have seen it happen (mainly when we were in our early teens), but whether we play AD&D or D20 it just doesn't anymore.


Okay, I could explain this, but let's leave it for another thread.



Oh, I understand it, but it's still counterintuitive and I still would rather have a simple Sneak skill that worked the same for everybody.



Sure, but how big a deal is it to just invent a percentage chance (which is the 1e rule)? I dunno, it just all seems the same to me (in terms of outcome).


Ok, the best analogy for this is the teacher, most likely a History professor with multiple doctorates, who tries to show the class a video.

This guy knows more history than God. He knows more about Henry VII than Henry himself. But...all the appliances in his house flash "12:00" and you can be sure we will have 15 minutes of a blue screen while the tweed jacketed man with a MENSA level IQ scratches his head.

This is what happens in my group with the best storyteller DM when you ask to do anything not spelled out. She's a great DM. Awesome adventures, but God help you if you want her to translate that brilliance into a percentile. With the basic D20 mechanic, we can actually get a ruling, that is halfway consistent, sometime the same night.

For some DM's, just winging a percentage with no guidance is asking an awful lot.



Good question; there's not much building involved in AD&D, as far as I'm aware (unless you start messing on with proficiencies). My experience of D20 was that people really were looking for the 'best' choice when figuring how to allocate feats and skill points, but that's not much removed from allocating attributes in a 'favourable' way. The only difference is the amount of time spent perusing rulebooks to come up with the 'best fit'.


The worst munchkin/optimizer/powergamer I ever met was in 1e. He would show up with nine issues of Dragon and have some insanely overpowered character who took advantage of every multiclass and racial option that existed. His name was Chet, so for years we used to call any munchkin PC a "Chet." Like "Oh my god, he's a 9th level Chet." He did this in every system I ever saw him use.

Now, my current group are piss poor optimizers by the standards of this forum. We don't plan a "build," we start with a concept and take new feats, classes and skills to fit the evolving concept. In the same way most people who think they want to be an electrical engineer when they are a college freshman wind up getting a degree in accounting and working as a nurse, I think having a 20 level plan before starting level one is silly.

That said, we like the customization that Feats give us.






As to playing the character, I doubt there's much difference in the portrayal of a D20 Fighter from an AD&D Fighter. The only differences lie in how the rules are then used to support that portrayal and how the player interacts with the campaign world.

This I agree with.

Matthew
2008-05-17, 12:04 PM
Oh, I understand it, but it's still counterintuitive and I still would rather have a simple Sneak skill that worked the same for everybody.

Best to think of Move Silently as an 'Extraordinary Ability'. :smallwink:



For some DM's, just winging a percentage with no guidance is asking an awful lot.

Yeah, fair enough. I wonder though if a simple word association would solve that. I use:

Easy = 70%
Average = 50%
Hard = 30%

Still, I appreciate the problem.



The worst munchkin/optimizer/powergamer I ever met was in 1e. He would show up with nine issues of Dragon and have some insanely overpowered character who took advantage of every multiclass and racial option that existed. His name was Chet, so for years we used to call any munchkin PC a "Chet." Like "Oh my god, he's a 9th level Chet." He did this in every system I ever saw him use.

Oh sure, 1e AD&D was open to abuse. Drizzt would be a case in point, he was perhaps the most perfect expression of Munchkinism.



Now, my current group are piss poor optimizers by the standards of this forum. We don't plan a "build," we start with a concept and take new feats, classes and skills to fit the evolving concept. In the same way most people who think they want to be an electrical engineer when they are a college freshman wind up getting a degree in accounting and working as a nurse, I think having a 20 level plan before starting level one is silly.

That said, we like the customization that Feats give us.

Yep, as I say, I have no problem with this 'style of play' (if it can be described thus), I'm just not into it. That said, I am open to allowing player characters to gain skills and abilities in various ways not linked to level advancement.

Mike_G
2008-05-17, 01:57 PM
Yes, though the "if players mesh..." is a big caveat. In my experience, more rules equate to more areas for the players and GMs to clash (and argue) on interpretations. Perhaps that's one reason I prefer lighter systems.

Agreed! I think our differences may lie in my preferring broad guidelines while you appear to prefer specific guidelines for common situations. Have I misinterpreted your stance?


Pretty much what you say.

I like having the mechanics for, say, jumping, since I expect that sometime in your adventuring career, you will need to get over a pit full of snakes/scorpions/spikes/acid or whatever. The fact that this is a nice, simple mechanic, the same for all classes, and sorta makes sense is great. I don't need the probablilities to exactly reflect the bell curve distribution of humans in real life, it just has to be kinda believable, and the guy with no armor and a high Strength should have a better chance than the guy in plate with an average Strength.




Sure, but do you want situational lists of pregenerated modifiers or an expectation that the DM will create any modifier he thinks necessary on the fly? In my experience the second is faster and more immersive. Looking up modifiers on a table slow play down.


I don't think we need a big list of modifiers. The basic system with the skills and stat bonuses and ranks works fine, and the DM should just increase or decrease the DC a bit as he sees fit.

I remember countless tables and charts of situational modifiers in 1st edition.




Not sure I agree. If I join a game of "D&D 3.5" I, as a player, have specific expectations in mind based on what I know of the rules. Switching my shovel to a pointy stick mid stream can be painful.


As with any houserule, it should be stated in advance, or if it comes up that you can, by the RAW, Bluff the Balor into not destroying the village with your 3rd level Bard, then the DM and palyer should work out a fair compromise. No, the rule can't stand if it's that game breaking, but if the PC dumped tons of points into it, he should be able to rework those points, or something.

I'd rather the rule be there, and the DM say, "yeah, Bluff can't work that way." than have no rule and have to wing it every time.

Obviously there are people who'd rather have no rule and make one up than a poor rule and ignore it. I'm not one of those people.




I mentioned several differences in play styles in this post (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4327571&postcount=85). For another, possibly more obvious difference, what percentage of characters who's role is dealing damage in all situations use two hand weapons? If you've house ruled Power Attack you may not see it, but a large percentage of those in a fighter role use them because they're so much better mechanically than one hand plus shield. Yet, in previous editions, I can't remember playing a character with a two handed weapon.

See, since we are not optimizers, nobody has a Two Handed Sword melee build. We all played 1e, and most of us have fenced or sparred with swords or ripped up some government property on the bayonet assault course, so we write up fighter the way we think they should be, not the way the rules reward us to. Our group has a dual dagger wielding Fighter in one of the parties. Suboptimal? Sure! Fun? You bet!

Raum
2008-05-17, 02:29 PM
I like having the mechanics for, say, jumping, since I expect that sometime in your adventuring career, you will need to get over a pit full of snakes/scorpions/spikes/acid or whatever. The fact that this is a nice, simple mechanic, the same for all classes, and sorta makes sense is great. I don't need the probablilities to exactly reflect the bell curve distribution of humans in real life, it just has to be kinda believable, and the guy with no armor and a high Strength should have a better chance than the guy in plate with an average Strength.I understand. I even tend to play that way when playing D&D these days.


I don't think we need a big list of modifiers. The basic system with the skills and stat bonuses and ranks works fine, and the DM should just increase or decrease the DC a bit as he sees fit.

I remember countless tables and charts of situational modifiers in 1st edition.Yep, in some ways AD&D was worse than 3e. It had tables for every subsystem, class, and situation instead of 3e's larger number of situations and a smaller number of subsystems. 3e is more granular, but at least all the classes are treated identically.

D&D in general has never been short of tables. Even the boxed sets of Basic D&D (which I barely remember) had tables for combat and for class / race progression.


As with any houserule, it should be stated in advance, or if it comes up that you can, by the RAW, Bluff the Balor into not destroying the village with your 3rd level Bard, then the DM and palyer should work out a fair compromise. No, the rule can't stand if it's that game breaking, but if the PC dumped tons of points into it, he should be able to rework those points, or something.Agreed!


I'd rather the rule be there, and the DM say, "yeah, Bluff can't work that way." than have no rule and have to wing it every time.

Obviously there are people who'd rather have no rule and make one up than a poor rule and ignore it. I'm not one of those people.I'm not advocating a lack of rules so much as a broader, more generic rule to cover most situations. Do you really need a Jump skill? Or is a rule saying a Strength or Agility check covers all athletic pursuits enough? I prefer the latter.


See, since we are not optimizers, nobody has a Two Handed Sword melee build. We all played 1e, and most of us have fenced or sparred with swords or ripped up some government property on the bayonet assault course, so we write up fighter the way we think they should be, not the way the rules reward us to. Our group has a dual dagger wielding Fighter in one of the parties. Suboptimal? Sure! Fun? You bet!Sounds like fun!

I'm curious, have you tried systems other than D&D? You might find some systems a better fit. Different systems can also make how mechanics affect play far more obvious.

Mike_G
2008-05-17, 06:00 PM
I understand. I even tend to play that way when playing D&D these days.

Yep, in some ways AD&D was worse than 3e. It had tables for every subsystem, class, and situation instead of 3e's larger number of situations and a smaller number of subsystems. 3e is more granular, but at least all the classes are treated identically.


That's one of the big improvements, I think. It certianly makes teaching the game easier.



I'm not advocating a lack of rules so much as a broader, more generic rule to cover most situations. Do you really need a Jump skill? Or is a rule saying a Strength or Agility check covers all athletic pursuits enough? I prefer the latter.


I'm ok with that, so long as there is a clear mechanic. The proposed 4e reduced skill list seems to move in that direction.



Sounds like fun!


It is. We aren't trying to "win," just have fun. My eyes roll every time I see a thread where somebody uses the Quadratic Equation to prove that Spring Attack is a lousy feat because you do 3.25769 points more damage on average per round with two handed power attack.

If my concept is for a half elf swashbuckler who fights with rapier and dagger, that's what I'm going to write up, sub-optimal as it might be. Now, within that concept, I'll try to choose decent feats, but I'm not going to write up a Greatsword wielding Barbarian instead because he does more damage.




I'm curious, have you tried systems other than D&D? You might find some systems a better fit. Different systems can also make how mechanics affect play far more obvious.

We tried quite a few back in the day, instead of switching to 2e. RuneQuest, Rolemaster, Harn, Call of Cthulhu, GURPS. The thing is, most of them are less well supported, and you can always find a D&D game.

At this stage, with a full time job, a part time job and a baby, I'm content to play a system with lots and lots of support so I don't need to write as much.

horseboy
2008-05-17, 06:34 PM
I think you might be not viewing playstyle in the same way as other folk here.
Playing a boardgame I will always adopt the same playstyle, try to win by using aggressive tactics, other folk are defensive players others use still different playstyles. Does this mean we only need 1 boardgame? No clearly even while using the same playstyle we can see that different games give us different choices, they allow for different feels and genres, we prefer the mechanics of one over another etc.No, I play each game differently. With D&D I just show up, roll dice and get plastered. (It's the only system I have to drink to get through, so the only system I drink while playing) Rolemaster I don't do IC jokes. I don't know why, but even my illusionist who's generally good natured. There's plenty of OOC jokes, but never an IC one. Call of Cthulthu I get very..."hostile" to the Keeper. I've made them cry and leave the table with my crazy Machiavellian schemes that, even when he didn't allow me to do them, I still snuck in through the back door. I never fight against a GM in any other system, well, there was that one time in Kult, so it's probably more of a genre thing. I never even consider PvP in anything outside of WW systems. My FASA characters are always more back ground storied than any other systems. Of course, they're the company that taught me how to actually role play instead of just killing things and taking their stuff. :smallamused:

On the other hand, working with the DM to apply a solution that fits this circumstance gets me the chance to perform the task I want, but doesn't leave the door open down the road for blatant stupidity because this was a situational ruling.While I will agree that no system is better than a bad system, I do believe that a good system is better than no system as it allows you to actually define your character, instead the all too common "You're a paladin, you can't climb," of prior editions.

I mentioned several differences in play styles in this post (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4327571&postcount=85). For another, possibly more obvious difference, what percentage of characters who's role is dealing damage in all situations use two hand weapons? If you've house ruled Power Attack you may not see it, but a large percentage of those in a fighter role use them because they're so much better mechanically than one hand plus shield. Yet, in previous editions, I can't remember playing a character with a two handed weapon.My fighter/assassin/monk/ranger had one. It was the Halberd of Ultimate Destruction. When you hit something with it, what you hit was affected with a disintegrate spell. Every once in a while he'd drop it off at his family villa for Alfred to recharge it. (Alfred was my paladin's butler, a magic-user.) Yeah, he was the younger brother to my long sword dual welding paladin who had the magic swords with the "extra damage" ability from the Expert box set, so that for 1 turn (that's turn, not rounds), three times a day they did x3 damage. Why are you looking at me like that? I'm not a munchkin! That guy who showed up to our 2nd edition game with the 1/2 Balrog Hengeyokai Oriental Barbarian, that was a munchkin. Oh, did I mention I only really optimize in D&D? The system that taught me how best to kill things and take their stuff.

Mike_G
2008-05-17, 06:57 PM
While I will agree that no system is better than a bad system, I do believe that a good system is better than no system as it allows you to actually define your character, instead the all too common "You're a paladin, you can't climb," of prior editions.


Thank God, somebody else had this issue!

Matthew
2008-05-17, 07:11 PM
Ha, ha. Don't worry, Mike. You're not alone by a long shot. Still, I should point out that in D20 Level One Paladins fall out of trees something like 50% of the time [2 Cross Classed Ranks, maybe +2 Strength, DC 15]. 75% of the time if they're wearing Mail Armour. :smallbiggrin:

(I hope you didn't miss my post at the end of the last page, by the way)

Raum
2008-05-17, 07:16 PM
We tried quite a few back in the day, instead of switching to 2e. RuneQuest, Rolemaster, Harn, Call of Cthulhu, GURPS. The thing is, most of them are less well supported, and you can always find a D&D game.Hehe, D&D could use a bit "less support" - assuming you're talking about the plethora of splatbooks. :)

When it comes to finding games I agree. D&D is head, shoulders, and waist above all the other 'halfling' game systems' in market penetration. It's the one system most non-gamers have heard about. They also do an excellent job of presenting worlds. I've liked every world I've played in, from Athas to Eberron to Toril. Each had it's own style, flavor, fascinating snippets of lore, and individuality.


At this stage, with a full time job, a part time job and a baby, I'm content to play a system with lots and lots of support so I don't need to write as much.Constraints on my time are probably the biggest reason I prefer lighter systems now. I still play D&D but I won't even attempt to DM it anymore...simply don't have the time to do it well. Not that it was ever my first choice when GMing, but my fondness for Shadowrun is immaterial. I don't run it anymore either, still not light enough. I don't even have a baby requiring attention! Just nephews and a niece I can send back to their parents after spoiling them rotten. :) Frankly I'm amazed you have time to devote to gaming at all with two jobs and a child!

Mike_G
2008-05-17, 07:20 PM
Ha, ha. Don't worry, Mike. You're not alone by a long shot. Still, I should point out that in D20 Level One Paladins fall out of trees something like 50% of the time. :smallbiggrin:

(I hope you didn't miss my post at the end of the last page, by the way)

I didn't.

There just wasn't much to disagree with :smallbiggrin:

Seriously, for my group, the one system task resolution works, since we have a math impaired DM two overworked multi-job having DM's.

I fully believe that the base skill/task chance from D20 is a perfectly fine place to start from, and the DM can modify it or not, according to preference and ability. It's like one step easier version of the patented 1e "Make @#$% up" mechanic. Less arbitrary, more consistent between characters and DMs.

We pretty much play the style of AD&D, but with what we consider better, less arbitrary mechanics and more options.

I'd probably enjoy a game at your table, though from our discussions.

Matthew
2008-05-17, 07:27 PM
There just wasn't much to disagree with :smallbiggrin:

I hoped that was the case. :smallwink:



Seriously, for my group, the one system task resolution works, since we have a math impaired DM two overworked multi-job having DM's.

I fully believe that the base skill/task chance from D20 is a perfectly fine place to start from, and the DM can modify it or not, according to preference and ability. It's like one step easier version of the patented 1e "Make @#$% up" mechanic. Less arbitrary, more consistent between characters and DMs.

We pretty much play the style of AD&D, but with what we consider better, less arbitrary mechanics and more options.

I'd probably enjoy a game at your table, though from our discussions.
Aye, it sounds like I would have a perfectly good time at yours as well; the company is always more important than the system, in any case.

Raum
2008-05-17, 07:39 PM
...the company is always more important than the system, in any case.. QFT!

Yahzi
2008-05-18, 12:12 PM
Do mechanics really influence playstyle?
The "five-foot step" rule not provoking an attack of opportunity affects my player's style. I'm not even kidding - when I wanted to modify it, they panicked.

On a more general note, if curing disease is easy, then it means you can't have a plague threaten a town and expect the players to care. If uberpowerful magic traps are common, players will not open doors without casting spells. And so on.

Mike_G
2008-05-19, 06:32 PM
The "five-foot step" rule not provoking an attack of opportunity affects my player's style. I'm not even kidding - when I wanted to modify it, they panicked.


WE did away with that as a clear case of a loophole where RAW violated common sense and RAI.

If you cast or shoot while in melee, you provoke. If you take a move action out of range to cast or shoot, you provoke. So why, in the name of Guinness, do you not provoke if you move out of range 5' instead of 30'?

We put that under "leaving threatened area." If you are in melee, you cast defensively, or you withdraw as a full round action, or suck up the AoO. It's not like casters don't already have enough advantages without being able to back up a step and cast with impunity.

Matthew
2008-05-19, 09:52 PM
Not sure if you have seen this already, Mike, but if you have fifteen minutes, I recommend reading what this guy has to say on the subject: Is this how D&D was meant to be played (http://lotfp.blogspot.com/2008/05/is-this-how-d-is-supposed-to-be-played.html)? Thought provoking stuff, though I don't necessarily agree with all of it.

Raum
2008-05-19, 10:12 PM
I read that also. My introduction to gaming was similar. However, I disagree with his premise. Perhaps because I've never used many modules. Both as player and as GM, modules have been the exception rather than the rule.

Yahzi
2008-05-19, 10:21 PM
We put that under "leaving threatened area." If you are in melee, you cast defensively, or you withdraw as a full round action, or suck up the AoO. It's not like casters don't already have enough advantages without being able to back up a step and cast with impunity.
The best I could do was rule that taking a 5-foot step without a melee weapon exposed you to an AoO (if you have a weapon, they can't just madly rush after you without risking getting poked).

By "best I could do," I mean, "best I could do without making them cry." :smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2008-05-19, 10:32 PM
I read that also. My introduction to gaming was similar. However, I disagree with his premise. Perhaps because I've never used many modules. Both as player and as GM, modules have been the exception rather than the rule.


I think my introduction through Hero Quest and Advanced Hero Quest had a lot of influence on our early forays into Dungeons & Dragons, as well as the module included with the basic set. However, a lot of things influenced our approach to the game, such as playing War Hammer Fantasy Roleplay without reading or even seeing the rulebook (we pieced together what we could from White Dwarf and made up the rest based on our board game experiences. I distinctly remember trying to recreate Marienburg using Advanced Hero Quest tiles). When we actually did get hold of the rules and played the Doomstone Campaign and the Enemy Within Campaign, we already had a lot of experience of making up adventures of various sorts and interacting with interesting NPCs (I had City of the White Wolf long before I acquired the Enemy Within).

Exposure to Dungeons & Dragons went hand in hand with reading Dragonlance novels and joining a local game club where we met older players. What we learned from them we took with us to our weekday games at school and during the holidays. I would say we played an even mix of published modules and homebrewed adventures with a wide variety of styles. We were travelling around in sky ships before we had ever heard of Spelljammer and long before Eberron was ever conceived. :smallwink:

It is hard to really know what the majority of other people were doing at the time, but by 1995 we had grown very dissatisfied with Dungeons & Dragons, the game club had wound down in a blitz of Magic the Gathering, Dragon Magazine noticably sucked, and my money was earmarked for beer and attempting to associate with the opposite sex. We experimented with playing World of Darkness, Star Wars D6, Role Master, SLA Industries, and a bunch of other RPGs I can barely remember, but eventually we settled on playing a homebrewed, skill based and low magic, gritty storytelling RPG, almost completely abandoning the 'dungeon' model.

Yahzi
2008-05-19, 11:12 PM
Not sure if you have seen this already, Mike, but if you have fifteen minutes, I recommend reading what this guy has to say on the subject: Is this how D&D was meant to be played (http://lotfp.blogspot.com/2008/05/is-this-how-d-is-supposed-to-be-played.html)? Thought provoking stuff, though I don't necessarily agree with all of it.
Matthew - thanks for that link! I loved reading that.

Charity
2008-05-20, 03:24 AM
It is hard to really know what the majority of other people were doing at the time, but by 1995 we had grown very dissatisfied with Dungeons & Dragons, the game club had wound down in a blitz of Magic the Gathering, Dragon Magazine noticably sucked, and my money was earmarked for beer and attempting to associate with the opposite sex. We experimented with playing World of Darkness, Star Wars D6, Role Master, SLA Industries, and a bunch of other RPGs I can barely remember, but eventually we settled on playing a homebrewed, skill based and low magic, gritty storytelling RPG, almost completely abandoning the 'dungeon' model.

I keep forgetting you are that much younger than me, Ooo and you seem to have gotten a bit taller over the weekend.


My players complained the other day that they had yet to go down a dungeon in my game... they will learn to rue that mithering I imagine...
It's very liberating knowing that we are making the switch in a month or so, anything goes for the bad guys now *insert evil laugh of choice*

Matthew
2008-05-20, 03:39 AM
Matthew - thanks for that link! I loved reading that.

No problem. It was indeed an excellent read.



I keep forgetting you are that much younger than me, Ooo and you seem to have gotten a bit taller over the weekend.


My players complained the other day that they had yet to go down a dungeon in my game... they will learn to rue that mithering I imagine...
It's very liberating knowing that we are making the switch in a month or so, anything goes for the bad guys now *insert evil laugh of choice*

Yeah, you're not alone mate; I get that a lot on this internet thingy... must be the way I write on RPG Forums.

Anyway, stop laughing, and go and read my review of Curse of the Witch Head down the page... guaranteed to challenge your players and I saw it on sale at Orc's Nest for £3.00 or something last month...

Charity
2008-05-20, 05:04 AM
Already done mister, looks quite good though being a lazy man I tend to avoid converting stuff... though I do have the Enemy Within Campaign bought many moons ago with the express purpose of converting it, but I was younger then and full of beans...

Anyhow another damn good reason to look forward to 4e is; I get to play this time round, I'm not a natural DM (see above lazy man comments) I just tend to get lumbered with it, so it will be nice to stay in just one character for a bit.

As for the age thing, it's living up there in the wild north it puts years on you. :smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2008-05-20, 05:20 AM
Already done mister, looks quite good though being a lazy man I tend to avoid converting stuff... though I do have the Enemy Within Campaign bought many moons ago with the express purpose of converting it, but I was younger then and full of beans...

Don't convert it, then. get your old AD&D Manuals out and recapture your youth. :smallwink: Aye, Curse of the Witch Head is a good offering, if a bit overpriced. The Enemy Within Campaign is fantastic, though; absolute classic. Pure Games Workshop goodness, from back when they were staffed by metallars and not Red Shirts.

Note: Embarassingly, I transposed the word 'intended' in the first sentence of that review from the middle to the end... whoops. had to go and correct that all over the web...



Anyhow another damn good reason to look forward to 4e is; I get to play this time round, I'm not a natural DM (see above lazy man comments) I just tend to get lumbered with it, so it will be nice to stay in just one character for a bit.

Here is a link to recent positive review of 4e from over on the Troll Lord Games forums: I tried 4e and it didn't suck (http://www.freeyabb.com/trolllordgames/viewtopic.php?t=4707&start=150&mforum=trolllordgames) (I made up that title)



As for the age thing, it's living up there in the wild north it puts years on you. :smallbiggrin:

Bah! I have lived south of the Humber, your water sucks. I did my undergraduate, masters and the bulk of my doctorate in Egham... I have only been home a couple of years. :smallwink:

Charity
2008-05-20, 05:57 AM
Our waters just hard, you northerners cannie tek it
http://www.dwi.gov.uk/consumer/images/map2.gif
our water is the hardest of all... it comes out the tap with a flicknife

My DM's guide, PHB and MM got stolen out of my car a few years back now, I only replaced the PHB so I'd struggle.
(bet that was a disappointing theft, they were in a record bag)

Matthew
2008-05-20, 06:14 AM
Yeek; stolen AD&D books, how annoying; I wonder if they were the ones I bought for a £1 each from Oxfam back in 2002...

...nah, there was no Monster Manual. :smallwink:

Ah well, you could always download OSRIC.

Charity
2008-05-20, 06:31 AM
I imagine they ended up in a ditch, along with all my dice and my characters...sigh

yeah I could get some retro Osric action, but Im all fired up to play now so no sense muddying the waters.
Gone are the days when I play half a dozen games at once.

Matthew
2008-05-20, 07:02 AM
I imagine they ended up in a ditch, along with all my dice and my characters...sigh

I know that pain. I once left an entire homebrew campaign world on the train, hundreds of man hours, drawings, camapaign notes all gone along with my bag and a bottle of gin...



yeah I could get some retro Osric action, but Im all fired up to play now so no sense muddying the waters.
Gone are the days when I play half a dozen games at once.

Understandable.

Charity
2008-05-20, 08:43 AM
I know that pain. I once left an entire homebrew campaign world on the train, hundreds of man hours, drawings, camapaign notes all gone along with my bag and a bottle of gin...


Wooo that does indeed suck, couldn't even drown your sorrows. The swines bust my cars window to get at a bag of stuff they most likely binned but thats just financial... losing time is grimm a guy I know managed to fry his hard drive with his novel on it, he never did start writing it again. Fortunately that is one of the few benifits of being a lazy git, no invested time to lose. :smallamused:

Matthew
2008-05-20, 01:10 PM
Wooo that does indeed suck, couldn't even drown your sorrows. The swines bust my cars window to get at a bag of stuff they most likely binned but thats just financial... losing time is grimm

Oh I drowned my sorrows alright (we were actually just back from Amsterdam, so I think my judgement was impaired). Then I spent the next week reconstructing as much as I could remember on the computer and hassling the train company about my bag. You wouldn't believe the number of bags that get left on trains, sadly mine was not amongst them.



...a guy I know managed to fry his hard drive with his novel on it, he never did start writing it again. Fortunately that is one of the few benifits of being a lazy git, no invested time to lose. :smallamused:

Yee! I once knew a guy who deleted two novels he had written off his hard drive on purpose! Crazy.