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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    So, yeah, combinging "do I find it" and "is it there" into a single roll can happen. I pointed that out. That's the "the GM hasn't decided if it's there or not, but it's plausible that it is" scenario. You know, the one where more traditionally, the GM would do separate rolls for each? Yeah, AW (and a lot of "narrative games") collapse that into a single roll. Nothing is going to happen that wouldn't happen in a traditional system, the only difference is how many dice rolls. The only thing it violates is a strong assumption of "the dice roll must ONLY mean how well the character did."

    Same with the "use a single roll instead of multiples." Can you avoid the issues with task resolution? Of course. Is it really easy to fall into them? Yup. Does collapsing them into one roll make it more clear what the probabilities are, even to the GM? Yup. Can that help avoid situations where the GM accidentally creates an impossible/trivial check where they didn't intend to? Yup.

    And do some people go overboard when talking about it, making it seem like people using task resolution are inherently doing it wrong and are bad people? BETTER BELIEVE IT.

    I've learned that there are jerks in every group, though, and have learned to ignore them. Because there's good people in almost every group, too. They're just usually quieter, especially if you're not in the group.
    The thing is, they weren't presenting it as options, or tools, or what works best for them. They were presenting it as "If you don't run this way, you are a bad GM and probably a bad person".

    Not "Hey you can combine these rolls"... but "you should combine these rolls, and the result should determine whether something is there, rather than the GM predetermining, and a GM who predetermines is probably a bad GM".

    So beyond not liking what I've seen in reviews, previews, and free versions of AW, the most vocal advocates and the author (Baker) have really not made me think it's a scene I want to dip any further into.


    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Did we just become like best friends? I'm the dude that wrote https://bookofhanz.com/, btw.
    I read through the Book.

    Very well written, very informative, nothing but positive feedback on it as an explanation of an approach and system.

    And also a very good summary of what I do not want from my RPG experience.
    - Cinematic/story emulation.
    - Going past "fiction layer first" to story first.
    - Treating characters, setting, and events as "narrative elements".
    - Lack of inherent scale -- the same stats, rolls, results, etc mean (potentially widely) different things depending on the cinematic/story being emulated.
    - Heavy focus on "opportunity cost" and "escalating consequences".
    - Conflict treated as "a test of commitment to one's goals" rather than a contest of abilities.

    The section labelled "The Not-So-Hidden Logic of Paying to Invoke Aspects" pretty much sums up what I don't want, not from my gaming, and not even from my actual fiction. I don't want things to be contrived around what "suits the story"... I don't want Nanoc's abilities to vary based on which enemy he's fighting, and I don't want slipping on the ice to "of course" come at a "dramatic" or "key" moment. It's utterly predictable and feels contrived to me.

    I've found I enjoy less and less fiction over the years, and at some point I even started putting books down and never finishing them... and in part that's because it became clear that most of the writers were, intentionally or not, writing from the same playbook, based on ideas of "what makes a good story", how pacing and escalation of stakes and so forth "should" happen. The last thing I need is for more of that to creep into my gaming.


    I am not mad, but I am a bit exasperated. Every time I say something like "Cool, glad you enjoy that, different things for different people, but Fate is not a game for me and here's why..." someone (not just you) insists that my concerns are not really reflective of how Fate works or what Fate does... and now I read this explanation of Fate, and yes, it's doing exactly what I don't want my games to do.

    (Again, I am not saying you're doing it wrong, I'm saying it's entirely wrong for me.)


    And the use of "fiction" brings us to another issue in these discussions... I've been told that "fiction layer" is a good term for what I want to emphasize in games, that idea that the "fictional reality" is the territory, and the rules are the map, and that internal consistence, coherence, and verisimilitude are what matter to me. But here we have "fiction" being used in a way that reflects pacing, escalation, stakes, story beats, and other narrative elements, that are actively detrimental to what I want out of a game.

    It almost feels like there is no word in the English language for what I really look for, and that it's always going to take paragraphs of exposition to differentiate it.
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  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    It almost feels like there is no word in the English language for what I really look for, and that it's always going to take paragraphs of exposition to differentiate it.
    Degree of difficulty is increased by those on the receiving end {often} needing or wanting a TLDR or jargon term to encapsulate your complex thought. {further rant will not be indulged in}
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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    Ironically, what's being discussed that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way about Apocalypse World is something that, in Masks, I found very influential with respect to how I think about RPGs.

    Namely, that games can have a point. D&D is something of an adventure fantasy swiss army knife, it gives you the pieces but how you assemble them into an adventure is something very much up to you (unless you're using a premade scenario). In some cases, I quite enjoy this: building a city in Vampire: the Masquerade and setting up intrigue dominos for the players to knock down in an organic way can be very fun.

    But just like how there's an appeal to games with a broader focus in their design, PbtA games tend to be very tight and laser-focused: they're trying to give you a certain experience. They can be extremely versatile, but they also know what kind of game they want to be, they're working towards very specific tone and themes, and all the mechanics are ideally in service of that.

    Nowadays, when I think about game design, I think of it that way: how is it in service of facilitating the kind of game I want to play? How do the mechanics encourage you to get in the right mindset to do what you're trying to do?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuras View Post
    My personal experience may be skewed because I play primarily at “open” tables at the FLGS, but my primary reaction to character death was to remember the players whose actions got my character killed and avoid ever playing with them at a table with a “killer DM”.

    The possibility of failure is required to make success meaningful, but in my experience it works better done some other way than character mortality.
    In my mind, being a group game helps. Losing a character is a loss but the party keeps going. I do agree that 5e does a poor job with other kinds of failure since long term complications are almost non-existent, there aren't degrees of failure really, outside of loot opportunities maybe. I have been wanting to experiment a bit with the gritty realism rules for that reason.
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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    The thing is, they weren't presenting it as options, or tools, or what works best for them. They were presenting it as "If you don't run this way, you are a bad GM and probably a bad person".

    Not "Hey you can combine these rolls"... but "you should combine these rolls, and the result should determine whether something is there, rather than the GM predetermining, and a GM who predetermines is probably a bad GM".
    Those people are jerks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    So beyond not liking what I've seen in reviews, previews, and free versions of AW, the most vocal advocates and the author (Baker) have really not made me think it's a scene I want to dip any further into.
    Fair, but I think you're conflating tech and areas where the tech is commonly used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I read through the Book.

    Very well written, very informative, nothing but positive feedback on it as an explanation of an approach and system.

    And also a very good summary of what I do not want from my RPG experience.
    - Cinematic/story emulation.
    - Going past "fiction layer first" to story first.
    - Treating characters, setting, and events as "narrative elements".
    - Lack of inherent scale -- the same stats, rolls, results, etc mean (potentially widely) different things depending on the cinematic/story being emulated.
    - Heavy focus on "opportunity cost" and "escalating consequences".
    - Conflict treated as "a test of commitment to one's goals" rather than a contest of abilities.
    ... and I think, again, the issue is that you seem to be assigning meaning to certain things that I don't think is intended.

    Some of those are valid, and I get. Some of those I'm not sure why they're issues. And some of them seem to miss the mark on what I understand.

    Like, for one, I consider "story first" to mean primarily "don't do what makes sense, do what makes a good story." And I'd say I don't really run games that way, of any stripe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    The section labelled "The Not-So-Hidden Logic of Paying to Invoke Aspects" pretty much sums up what I don't want, not from my gaming, and not even from my actual fiction. I don't want things to be contrived around what "suits the story"... I don't want Nanoc's abilities to vary based on which enemy he's fighting, and I don't want slipping on the ice to "of course" come at a "dramatic" or "key" moment. It's utterly predictable and feels contrived to me.
    Nanoc's abilities don't change. His strength and how it helps him fight better is basically reflected in his Fight score. The setup/payoff thing exists in pretty much all fiction. Sometimes it's done ham-handedly, for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I am not mad, but I am a bit exasperated. Every time I say something like "Cool, glad you enjoy that, different things for different people, but Fate is not a game for me and here's why..." someone (not just you) insists that my concerns are not really reflective of how Fate works or what Fate does... and now I read this explanation of Fate, and yes, it's doing exactly what I don't want my games to do.
    Oh, I'm pretty sure Fate's not the right system for you. I also do think you're making assumptions or readings about it that are inaccurate. That doesn't mean that Fate's the right system for you, though. And I think you're reading too much into non-core bits of tech like "Conflict resolution" (which I still don't have a good definition for, the best I've found is "stating what you're trying to achieve") that are unnecessary.

    And, of course, as you point out, there's a lot of poison from the GNS well, and that doesn't help matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    And the use of "fiction" brings us to another issue in these discussions... I've been told that "fiction layer" is a good term for what I want to emphasize in games, that idea that the "fictional reality" is the territory, and the rules are the map, and that internal consistence, coherence, and verisimilitude are what matter to me. But here we have "fiction" being used in a way that reflects pacing, escalation, stakes, story beats, and other narrative elements, that are actively detrimental to what I want out of a game.
    Yeah. It's sometimes used to mean different things, and that sucks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    It almost feels like there is no word in the English language for what I really look for, and that it's always going to take paragraphs of exposition to differentiate it.
    Nah, I get what you're going for, mostly.

    I do still think it'd be interesting to run a Fate one-shot for you some time, just to see how you'd react to it in play. I still don't think it'd be fully your jam, but I think you might find it's less distasteful than you think.
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  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Oh, I'm pretty sure Fate's not the right system for you. I also do think you're making assumptions or readings about it that are inaccurate. That doesn't mean that Fate's the right system for you, though. And I think you're reading too much into non-core bits of tech like "Conflict resolution" (which I still don't have a good definition for, the best I've found is "stating what you're trying to achieve") that are unnecessary.

    This section very much reads as "story first" to me...
    (Emphasis added.)


    "Fate Core, as far as I can see, tries to emulate fiction. That doesn’t just mean “a physical simulation of fictional worlds”. That means the flow and structure of fiction. That means that when we look at how a game of Fate ‘should’ flow, our reference point should be ‘does this play out like a book, or a movie?’ rather than ‘does this work like how it would work in the physical world’?

    A slippery, ice-covered surface, in fiction, doesn’t mean that every description or shot of people on it involves them slipping and sliding around. That’s boring. What it probably means is that at some key moment, somebody will slip because of the surface creating some dramatic moment. And that’s what Fate tries to emulate—how the dramatic elements work together, not the actual effects of fighting on a slippery surface. It follows the rules of fiction regardless of realism, not reality—even ‘cinematic’ reality."


    The most extreme definition of "conflict resolution" I've seen, from that lost forum thread I mentioned, was as follows (paraphrasing):

    "Your conflict isn't with the guard you're trying to sneak past, or the wall you're trying to climb, or the locked door you're trying to pick -- it's with the lord of the castle. You don't roll to sneak past the guard, and then climb the wall, and then pick the lock -- your goal is to reach the lord's chambers, so you roll against the lord to reach the chambers."

    More broadly, it's "What are you actually trying to accomplish? Roll for that, not for the steps." Occasionally includes admonishment that rolling for the steps is the GM trying to make you fail.

    This is why I associate Conflict Resolution with Disassociated Mechanics.

    And also why I associate Conflict Resolution with Narrative Mechanics -- which usually involve rolling for scenes or part of scenes rather than discrete actions.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    I read that whole article about Dissociated Mechanics and something struck me. The underpinnings of systems like D&D are filled with Dissociated Mechanics. Hit points, ability scores, attack and damage rolls, most of the strictly mechanical stuff you find on character sheets, etc, are all things that don't really exist in the game world. They're arbitrary numbers and math used to resolve actions in the game world, and the whole time you're calculating your to-hit bonus and counting up damage dice you're not actually 'in the game,' you're doing something totally unrelated. Abstraction seems to be the place where most 'Dissociated Mechanics' are born.

    A neat example of an Associated Mechanic is the Conditions in Masks: A New Generation. Masks is a superhero game where characters can just be completely invincible, or ghosts, or be a nascent universe in the body of a dorky teenager. Using hit points to represent the durability and disposition of player characters wouldn't make any sense. So instead the game models your characters emotional state through a series of five Conditions (Angry, Afraid, Hopeless, Insecure, and Guilty) you can accrue and, when you can't take any more, your character leaves the scene through some means the player decides - getting knocked out, temporarily discorporated, dunked through the earth's mantle, fleeing, etc. Each Condition also penalizes your use of certain moves or actions - having a Condition marked impairs you in an often major way. The use of Conditions helps to keep players grounded in the game world, and helps them always be aware of their character's current mental state. The game is about playing teenagers, so they're often pretty moody. Conditions can come and go, and each one comes with its own special way to clear it - mostly by acting like a moody teenage superhero. It's a really cool way to drive play.

    In a similar vein, Conditions also appear in Avatar Legends, a ttrpg that's being Kickstarted right now. I've yet to play it, but it's made by the same people who made Masks, so I have high hopes.

  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kymme View Post
    I read that whole article about Dissociated Mechanics and something struck me. The underpinnings of systems like D&D are filled with Dissociated Mechanics. Hit points, ability scores, attack and damage rolls, most of the strictly mechanical stuff you find on character sheets, etc, are all things that don't really exist in the game world. They're arbitrary numbers and math used to resolve actions in the game world, and the whole time you're calculating your to-hit bonus and counting up damage dice you're not actually 'in the game,' you're doing something totally unrelated. Abstraction seems to be the place where most 'Dissociated Mechanics' are born.

    A neat example of an Associated Mechanic is the Conditions in Masks: A New Generation. Masks is a superhero game where characters can just be completely invincible, or ghosts, or be a nascent universe in the body of a dorky teenager. Using hit points to represent the durability and disposition of player characters wouldn't make any sense. So instead the game models your characters emotional state through a series of five Conditions (Angry, Afraid, Hopeless, Insecure, and Guilty) you can accrue and, when you can't take any more, your character leaves the scene through some means the player decides - getting knocked out, temporarily discorporated, dunked through the earth's mantle, fleeing, etc. Each Condition also penalizes your use of certain moves or actions - having a Condition marked impairs you in an often major way. The use of Conditions helps to keep players grounded in the game world, and helps them always be aware of their character's current mental state. The game is about playing teenagers, so they're often pretty moody. Conditions can come and go, and each one comes with its own special way to clear it - mostly by acting like a moody teenage superhero. It's a really cool way to drive play.

    In a similar vein, Conditions also appear in Avatar Legends, a ttrpg that's being Kickstarted right now. I've yet to play it, but it's made by the same people who made Masks, so I have high hopes.
    I wouldn't really consider PbtA rules overall "associated".

    Just having to do math or having a numerical model of something in the game setting or in the character's capabilities doesn't make an ability "disassociated".

    The prime example of "disassociated" mechanics in D&D would be "once per long rest" Fighter abilities -- there's no reason a Fighter shouldn't be able to use that maneuver repeatedly... but for "balance" reasons it can only be used once per combat, or once between short rests, or whatever.

    Spoiler: Quoting From the Article
    Show

    A SIMPLE DEFINITION

    An associated mechanic is one which has a connection to the game world. A dissociated mechanic is one which is disconnected from the game world.

    The easiest way to perceive the difference is to look at the player’s decision-making process when using the mechanic: If the player’s decision can be directly equated to a decision made by the character, then the mechanic is associated. If it cannot be directly equated, then it is dissociated.

    For example, consider a football game in which a character has the One-Handed Catch ability: Once per game they can make an amazing one-handed catch, granting them a +4 bonus to that catch attempt.

    The mechanic is dissociated because the decision made by the player cannot be equated to a decision made by the character. No player, after making an amazing one-handed catch, thinks to themselves, “Wow! I won’t be able to do that again until the next game!” Nor do they think to themselves, “I better not try to catch this ball one-handed, because if I do I won’t be able to make any more one-handed catches today.”

    On the other hand, when a player decides to cast a fireball spell that decision is directly equated to the character’s decision to cast a fireball. (The character, like the player, knows that they have only prepared a single fireball spell. So the decision to expend that limited resource – and the consequences for doing so – are understood by both character and player.)

    METAGAMED AND ABSTRACTED


    Dissociated mechanics can also be thought of as mechanics for which the characters have no functional explanations.

    But this generalization can be misleading when taken too literally. All mechanics are both metagamed and abstracted: They exist outside of the character’s world and they are only rough approximations of that world.

    For example, the destructive power of a fireball is defined by the number of d6’s you roll for damage; and the number of d6’s you roll is determined by the caster level of the wizard casting the spell.

    If you asked a character about d6’s of damage or caster levels, they’d obviously have no idea what you were talking about. But the character could tell you what a fireball is and that casters of greater skill can create more intense flames during the casting of the spell.

    The player understands the metagamed and abstracted mechanic (d6’s and caster levels), but that understanding is directly associated with the character’s understanding of the game world (burning flames and skilled casters).

    EXPLAINING IT ALL AWAY

    On a similar note, there is a misconception that a mechanic isn’t dissociated as long as you can explain what happened in the game world as a result.

    The argument goes like this: “Although I’m using the One-Handed Catch ability, all the character knows is that they made a really great one-handed catch. The character isn’t confused by what happened, so it’s not dissociated.”

    What the argument misses is that the dissociation already happened in the first sentence. The explanation you provide after the fact doesn’t remove it.

    To put it another way: The One-Handed Catch ability is a mechanical manipulation with no corresponding reality in the game world whatsoever. You might have a very good improv session that is vaguely based on the dissociated mechanics you’re using, but there has been a fundamental disconnect between the game and the world. You could just as easily be playing a game of Chess while improvising a vaguely related story about a royal coup starring your character named Rook.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2021-08-17 at 03:06 PM.
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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I wouldn't really consider PbtA rules overall "associated".
    One big thing is that PbtA games aren't really a thing. One game that considers itself PbtA and another can look totally different. It's not an engine, it's not a system. I wouldn't, and Vincent Baker has said much the same, even hazard to say there are common elements on the mechanical side. PbtA is a design concept. Godsend, a PbtA game, doesn't have Labels or dice rolls at all so the often times included Fail Forward mechanic doesn't exist. City of Mists does have fail forward but it also doesn't have Labels. It also doesn't have Conditions (Neither does Godsend) or a Harm track. City of Mist and Godsend have their own health systems that are 100% different than any other game that identifies itself as PbtA. Show me a PbtA rule and I'll introduce you to two games claiming to be PbtA that outright don't include it.

    So saying "PbtA rules" really...doesn't say much? Games that are under the PbtA umbrella and their rules are dependent heavily on the games they're a part of. There are no generic PbtA rules, not even the Simple World hack which just sorta...outlines how Apocalypse World is built and gives advice how to make a game like AW. But "PbtA" games have come such a long way from AW. Even Baker has gone back to look at other games under his label and remade AW with more modern PbtA design concepts.

    Saying that, I'm with Kymme. Masks, and Avatar but they're made by the same people and use largely the exact same rules with some of the names filed off and others scribbled in place, are pretty much "associated". There isn't a rule or mechanic in Masks that isn't dependent on another rule or mechanic. It's quite circular from start to finish with only a few things really...maybe...violating that if you take RAW and not RAI rulings. They're incredibly few though.
    Last edited by Razade; 2021-08-17 at 05:52 PM.

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    Default Re: Different RPG systems

    It's really hard to talk about PbtA games in the general sense because they really aren't a monolith. That's why I prefer to talk about the specific Powered by the Apocalypse games I like, like Masks and Fellowship.

    Razade is 100% correct. The only mechanic in Masks that I'd say isn't 'associated' is the advancement system and... I dunno, that's pretty much it. Like, basically every mechanic in the game represents something 'real' in the fiction, and to the player characters. Influence is a mechanic that literally just means 'you value what this person has to say,' Conditions model your character's emotional state, Labels model your character's self-identity, playbook moves are little modules that help adjudicate certain scenarios or actions that are particularly important to that character (for instance, the Protege playbook has a move that represents when you seek out your mentor for advice, and the Delinquent has a move that kicks in whenever you attempt to trick or mislead somebody). Everything is pretty thoroughly ingrained.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kymme View Post
    It's really hard to talk about PbtA games in the general sense because they really aren't a monolith. That's why I prefer to talk about the specific Powered by the Apocalypse games I like, like Masks and Fellowship.

    Razade is 100% correct. The only mechanic in Masks that I'd say isn't 'associated' is the advancement system and... I dunno, that's pretty much it. Like, basically every mechanic in the game represents something 'real' in the fiction, and to the player characters. Influence is a mechanic that literally just means 'you value what this person has to say,' Conditions model your character's emotional state, Labels model your character's self-identity, playbook moves are little modules that help adjudicate certain scenarios or actions that are particularly important to that character (for instance, the Protege playbook has a move that represents when you seek out your mentor for advice, and the Delinquent has a move that kicks in whenever you attempt to trick or mislead somebody). Everything is pretty thoroughly ingrained.
    The Advancement system feeds into the other mechanics but giving you more/interesting things to do. Especially those that give you access to other Playbook's extras. I've written 35 playbooks and a ton of content for Masks at this point. The rules, even when you subvert them, are easy because how interconnected everything is together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I wouldn't really consider PbtA rules overall "associated".

    Just having to do math or having a numerical model of something in the game setting or in the character's capabilities doesn't make an ability "disassociated".

    The prime example of "disassociated" mechanics in D&D would be "once per long rest" Fighter abilities -- there's no reason a Fighter shouldn't be able to use that maneuver repeatedly... but for "balance" reasons it can only be used once per combat, or once between short rests, or whatever.
    And yet, I don't find those abilities disassociated at all. They map reasonably well to my experiences playing sports. They also map well to that of what high-level athletes have experienced (specifically, an Olympic fencer made a comment that it mapped well).

    In sports, you simply do not operate at the same capacity all of the time. This is a mainstay of "martial" classes, but it doesn't actually map well. You've got your base level of performance, and then you've got the stuff you pull out less frequently, because it's exhausting, stretches things uncomfortably, etc.

    Dailies and encounter powers model this reasonably well. Not perfectly, but reasonably. Sure, you could probably do a better modeling job with some kind of fatigue point system or the like, but that's also a lot more bookkeeping.

    But, yeah. There is a reason that fighters can't use a particular move repeatedly. That's an actual thing that actually happens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    And yet, I don't find those abilities disassociated at all. They map reasonably well to my experiences playing sports. They also map well to that of what high-level athletes have experienced (specifically, an Olympic fencer made a comment that it mapped well).

    In sports, you simply do not operate at the same capacity all of the time. This is a mainstay of "martial" classes, but it doesn't actually map well. You've got your base level of performance, and then you've got the stuff you pull out less frequently, because it's exhausting, stretches things uncomfortably, etc.

    Dailies and encounter powers model this reasonably well. Not perfectly, but reasonably. Sure, you could probably do a better modeling job with some kind of fatigue point system or the like, but that's also a lot more bookkeeping.

    But, yeah. There is a reason that fighters can't use a particular move repeatedly. That's an actual thing that actually happens.
    Especially when you throw in abilities above the normal flow. Take the 5e Battlemaster's Trip Attack maneuver. Anyone can attempt to trip by sacrificing an attack; that's a basic rule. You can do that as much as you want. Only the Battlemaster can try to trip while dealing better than normal weapon damage.

    To me, the appropriate setting model for this (and things like Rage, Second Wind, etc) is that fantastic individuals have some form of internal pool of energy. They can use this energy to go above the norm (for the setting), but not an unlimited number of times without rest.
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    I mean, if we had decent Fatigue rules (so not the D&D 5e ones) I'd be more than willing to run Fighter abilities off a Fatigue track. Spellcasters too actually, bit that's more so we could simplify bookkeeping for fishes.

    The idea that you have a baseline level of performance, but you can push past that and be extraordinary for a short time at the risk of lower overall performance makes sense to me. Encounter and Daily abilities are a fine way to model that, but so would be a Fatigue track (with maybe some extra '-0' slots for high physical stats).

    At the same time, I like the idea of a 13th Age Flexible Attacks system to represent the fact that in a battle not all options are viable at any point, and the idea of tying what is to the attack roll appeals to me. But I think I'd have such abilities separate from the 'above peak performance' ones, this is just you being really good at recognising and exploiting openings.

    Although at the end of the day, I'll just settle for characters not massively varying in complexity based on concept. And while I used to think that meant I wanted more complex Fighters, I think I actually want simpler magicians.
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    Also how you spend that complexity. I know systems with a tenth the complexity of D&D that seem to achieve half the variety it has. I don't have a way to measure either that but that's the way it feels. The ideal would be every choice has a notable impact on a character and although that is generally impossible to get right every time, you can try to avoid little fiddly changes. Like a situational +1 on a d20, that situation basically always has to be live for that to matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I mean, if we had decent Fatigue rules (so not the D&D 5e ones) I'd be more than willing to run Fighter abilities off a Fatigue track. Spellcasters too actually, bit that's more so we could simplify bookkeeping for fishes.

    The idea that you have a baseline level of performance, but you can push past that and be extraordinary for a short time at the risk of lower overall performance makes sense to me. Encounter and Daily abilities are a fine way to model that, but so would be a Fatigue track (with maybe some extra '-0' slots for high physical stats).

    At the same time, I like the idea of a 13th Age Flexible Attacks system to represent the fact that in a battle not all options are viable at any point, and the idea of tying what is to the attack roll appeals to me. But I think I'd have such abilities separate from the 'above peak performance' ones, this is just you being really good at recognising and exploiting openings.

    Although at the end of the day, I'll just settle for characters not massively varying in complexity based on concept. And while I used to think that meant I wanted more complex Fighters, I think I actually want simpler magicians.
    A fatigue track would be a lot more Associated (and believable) than the "X use per Y variable reset" setups.
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    Also, I'd just like to mention Tales of Maj'Eyal. Technically, it's a computer game not a standard pen-and-paper RPG. Based on the structure of a rogue-like game, it became so much more than that. I think it illustrates how it would be possible to have both mundane and magical classes having equally useful abilities, while still having substantially different abilities nonetheless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    A fatigue track would be a lot more Associated (and believable) than the "X use per Y variable reset" setups.
    Sure, it's an imperfect way to model it.

    But is it really any worse than hit points?

    I think one of the issues with it is that it just cribs the setup from mages, without even giving an explanation. IOW, it's effectively removing an explanation. That's a huge presentation issue, and 4e was rife with those.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Sure, it's an imperfect way to model it.

    But is it really any worse than hit points?

    I think one of the issues with it is that it just cribs the setup from mages, without even giving an explanation. IOW, it's effectively removing an explanation. That's a huge presentation issue, and 4e was rife with those.
    Hit Points in general, or D&D's hyperscaling HP? Specific to the latter, no, it's not worse.

    And yeah, 4E was kinda the height of "rules as rules, the fluff is an afterthought".

    But then, despite the focus of the Alexandrian articles, "game-first" and "story-first" have "disassociation" in common, rather than being something that sets them apart.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Hit Points in general, or D&D's hyperscaling HP?
    They weren't always hyperscaling. (See the tables in AD&D 1e level adv for an example).
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Sure, it's an imperfect way to model it.

    But is it really any worse than hit points?

    I think one of the issues with it is that it just cribs the setup from mages, without even giving an explanation. IOW, it's effectively removing an explanation. That's a huge presentation issue, and 4e was rife with those.
    I think to many people 'hp' also gets a grandfather clause due to being in the earliest editions of the earliest games (including 0e) whereas x/day Fighter abilities only really entered the main rules of a popular game with D&D 4e (the big example of limiting warriors before then that I know of, RuneQuest, used a Fatigue track).

    But yeah, 4e had an issue with contextless mechanics. It cold have done a lot more to make limited powers feel right on 'mundanes'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I think to many people 'hp' also gets a grandfather clause due to being in the earliest editions of the earliest games (including 0e) whereas x/day Fighter abilities only really entered the main rules of a popular game with D&D 4e (the big example of limiting warriors before then that I know of, RuneQuest, used a Fatigue track).

    But yeah, 4e had an issue with contextless mechanics. It cold have done a lot more to make limited powers feel right on 'mundanes'.
    Yup. 4e killed a lot of sacred cows, and a lot of weird stuff in D&D is unexamined because it's D&D and ThAt'S hOw ThInGs ShOuLd WoRk. It's all been internalized not only to the point where people don't notice it, but to the point where it's expected.

    4e was also the king of contextless mechanics. It also could have used a GIANT presentation pass, and a pass on mechanics to get everyone off of the same ability use scheme would have been delightful. In no way is it a perfect game, but the presentation is a HUGE part of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Yup. 4e killed a lot of sacred cows, and a lot of weird stuff in D&D is unexamined because it's D&D and ThAt'S hOw ThInGs ShOuLd WoRk. It's all been internalized not only to the point where people don't notice it, but to the point where it's expected.
    The sad thing is, it doesn't even need to be recent D&D for people to just some that's how it is. The number of times I've seen 'I'm making a fantasy system, so I've got wizards working like this, sorcerers working like this, warlocks working like this, druids working like this...'

    Not to say it can't be justified, but it's nearly always just because it's D&D. Are the druids there because we're playing a game primarily based on sources that feature druids? If not then why are they taking up space?

    Witch reminds me, I need to decide if I want summoning mechanics in my fantasy RPG.

    4e was also the king of contextless mechanics. It also could have used a GIANT presentation pass, and a pass on mechanics to get everyone off of the same ability use scheme would have been delightful. In no way is it a perfect game, but the presentation is a HUGE part of it.
    4e just needed more time and to not rush supplemented out of the door. It could have worked putting everybody on AEDU, but the designers put no effort into justifying it or making it feel right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Witch reminds me, I need to decide if I want summoning mechanics in my fantasy RPG.
    Now that I think about it, the most reasonable place to ground summoning mechanics might just be the same place as followers/hirelings/etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Witch reminds me, I need to decide if I want summoning mechanics in my fantasy RPG.
    I'd prefer, on a personal taste basis, that all summoning be restricted to ritual spells. YMMV.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    I'd prefer, on a personal taste basis, that all summoning be restricted to ritual spells. YMMV.
    My personal preferences are similar, at least for anything bigger/stronger than a cat/rat/bat and lasting more than few moments.

    I mean, summoning a small birdie that will fly and repeat a message to your companions or pick a small item for you? A spell.

    Summoning a demon, iridescent great snake or rhinoceros to fight in your stead, crush through few walls or to be ridden on to battle? Ritual.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post

    Witch reminds me, I need to decide if I want summoning mechanics in my fantasy RPG.
    I don't usually make fun of typos, but I now imagine Nanny Ogg sitting in your kitchen, drinking something made mostly of apples and asking you whether there will be summoning mechanics in your RPG...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    Now that I think about it, the most reasonable place to ground summoning mechanics might just be the same place as followers/hirelings/etc.
    That's not unreasonable. I might not put the roles for summoning in the exact same place, but I'll include a note that such creatures use the same Loyalty mechanics as mundane henchmen (i.e. demons can just leave if they're not paid and tested well).

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    I'd prefer, on a personal taste basis, that all summoning be restricted to ritual spells. YMMV.
    For what it's worth I wasn't considering short term summons as in D&D's Summon Monster spells, but more rituals to call a demon to bargain with. Summoning takes time, and then you have to spend even more time brokering a deal or binding it to your will. Don't try binding demons of any significant rank, they tend to get annoyed at the mere attempt.

    Actually, a Talent representing a permanently bound lesser demon wouldn't go amiss. Something similar to the Familiar talent, but a bit more restrictive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lacco36 View Post
    Summoning a demon, iridescent great snake or rhinoceros to fight in your stead, crush through few walls or to be ridden on to battle? Ritual.
    Yeah. I am with you, regardless of how much fun it is to summon two dire wolves and then ride them into battle on the next turn.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    That's not unreasonable. I might not put the roles for summoning in the exact same place, but I'll include a note that such creatures use the same Loyalty mechanics as mundane henchmen (i.e. demons can just leave if they're not paid and tested well).
    But boy oh boy is the expected payment different.
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