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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    To me it's no different from making decisions for me, except where the character is different. And the former is not anything related to story or plot.

    But I also think player-character separation is a myth. As far as I'm concerned, all characters are inherently "me but ...", and there's no way around that.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    I've not looked at 13th Age, but I actually liked 4e much more than 3e. It tried to fix the balance issues (which of course made those who wanted spellcasters to remain top dog unhappy) and introduced a lot of fun new classes, like wardens, warlords and battleminds, that sadly haven't been done since. Sadly it didn't fix other issues, like cook-cutterism and an all or nothing skill system.

    Thats why I still prefer 2e - a 9 str, 16 int, 16 cha fighter is not just feasible but also fun in 2e as they have a role outside of combat, something that wouldn't work in 3e and 4e.

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    If I recall correctly, 13th age had its classes actually have differing subsystems, the way 3.PF and 5e and even 1&2e did. 4e had some really neat ideas in its core mechanics. For me, it fell flat in its class design: everything was a 3.5 martial adept.

    I do not believe 13th age shares that particular sin, but I could be wrong; I have never played in a game of it and may be misremembering its contents greatly.

  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    A plot is the underlying narrative of a story. You don't agree with that definition?
    I realize this is kind of an annoying non-answer, but that really depends on how we define "underlying narrative".

    Anyhow, it seems like the major difference is that I think plot can exist even with players acting independently of the "author" (I wouldn't say player action is part of the plot, but it is often in reaction to it) while you consider it to stop being plot the moment a player makes in-character choices.

    Out of curiosity, would you say a written adventure can have plot before it's played or is the fact that it will have players enough to make it non-plot?
    Last edited by Batcathat; 2021-09-13 at 02:48 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Well then none of my stories (if I'm allowed to call them that) have a plot. OK maybe some of the really short ones with two stock characters and one plot point. But in-character decisions happen a lot because that is how you get consistent characters.
    Are you talking about fiction you've written or games you've run? If it's fiction, then unless you're using other people to provide character direction, you're still 100% in control of the universe your characters are in. Those in-character decisions are tied to, and move the plot along. Without a plot, there is no story...

    I think Tanarii is basically stating 'no plot survives an interaction with another human being.' Because others, who obviously can't have 100% knowledge of your plot, can easily thwart or support it, and you have no way of knowing which (and even in support, it could go quite askew of where you originally intended).

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    I realize this is kind of an annoying non-answer, but that really depends on how we define "underlying narrative".

    Anyhow, it seems like the major difference is that I think plot can exist even with players acting independently of the "author" (I wouldn't say player action is part of the plot, but it is often in reaction to it) while you consider it to stop being plot the moment a player makes in-character choices.

    Out of curiosity, would you say a written adventure can have plot before it's played or is the fact that it will have players enough to make it non-plot?
    For me, the only way a written adventure could have a non-plot is if the intention of the module is for something like "in this adventure, the characters will meet and hopefully defeat the Grand Lich of the land, thus thwarting the Wasting Curse and saving the planet" and then the characters en masse decide to have an adventure in Sigil instead. But then, are you even playing the module in the first place?

    Personally, I don't agree with Tanarii's viewpoint. if the plot is to go to a dank cave murder kobolds and loot their homes, and the characters do that - regardless of what happens in the meantime - then the plot is resolved. And honestly, if they don't actually accomplish those goals (say, as above, when they get to the cave they decide it would be more fun to go shopping in Sigil), the plot doesn't suddenly evaporate, it just changes. Plot is literally 'what happens in a story'.
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  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    I can't say if 13th Age is more well liked than 4e, but I can say that 4e was much more hated than 13th age.

    A few reasons would be:
    13th Age improved on many of the mechanical aspects people took issue with 4e over
    13th Age was a brand new game and wasn't trying to replace something that was fairly well liked at the time (Pathfinders success shows this to be true)

    Though, this does bring a couple of thoughts to me,
    If 4e hadn't have happened, then Pathfinder wouldn't have been nearly as successful. If 4e hadn't happened, 13th age wouldn't have got to adapt it's design to the complaints levied against 4e. If 4e hadn't happened would 5e have actually been well received and would it have looked anything at all like what we have now?

    It seems to me that 4e's existence made a ton of other great games possible, and while 4e is generally viewed as a failure, it's possible that strategically it was still the right decision.

  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Very 'glass half full' viewpoint.

    Or, as 13th Age advocates, always fall forward
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  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoxus View Post
    Plot is literally 'what happens in a story'.
    I think this might be going too far in the other direction. While I haven't found a perfect way to define what I consider "plot" to be, something like "what is planned to happen in a story" might be kinda close. So if I run an adventure where the party end up unexpectedly turning on each other for some unforseen reason, I wouldn't say the PvP was part of the plot (though it might have been an unexpected reaction to the plot).
    Last edited by Batcathat; 2021-09-13 at 08:21 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    I think this might be going too far in the other direction. While I haven't found a perfect way to define what I consider "plot" to be, something like "what is planned to happen in a story" might be kinda close. So if I run an adventure where the party end up unexpectedly turning on each other for some unforseen reason, I wouldn't say the PvP was part of the plot (though it might have been an unexpected reaction to the plot).
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    Last edited by Frogreaver; 2021-09-13 at 08:26 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Kymme View Post
    Making weapons more abstract is something I've begun to appreciate more and more. In something like Mythender, for instance, your characters weapons are abstracted to the point that you can pretty much play a character with any strange fighting style or mythical superpowers you want, and I find that freedom really valuable. It's one of the reasons why I love the way Masks: A New Generation approaches superpowers. You have so much freedom to come up with all kinds of creative powersets and abilities when the system abstracts them.
    I do like some mechanical heft to my weapons and abilities, rather than boiling it down to doing the same thing but describing it differently. But I don't think weapons in D&D, or most fantasy systems for that matter, have ever really enabled that.
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  11. - Top - End - #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    I also think player-character separation is a myth. As far as I'm concerned, all characters are inherently "me but ...", and there's no way around that.
    1) I think "girls" is a myth. As far as I'm concerned, I've always been a guy, and they're no way around that.

    2) Mac emulators for the PC, and PC emulators for the Mac are a thing.

    3) not personally being able to breath fire is not what makes most people disbelieve Dragons.

    Probably the most intelligent person I've ever met one told me that "if I had lived your life, I'd be you".

    Now, sure, maybe no human personality emulator will ever have the fidelity to successfully roleplay "my Mom" believably. But there's a whole lot more accuracy, a whole lot more differences than, "me with blue skin".

    Knowing one of my characters mostly hurts your ability to predict a second (if some if my former GMs (who seemed to share your mindset) are any indication). Knowing 5 of my characters… gives you a feel of my range.

    Different people have different ranges, and different size ranges. I think it's unfair to actors (who are different than roleplayers, but roasted consult of "range") to claim that there's no such thing as characters, it's all just "them but…".

    Yes, a great many players cannot go beyond "them but…". Yes, there's plenty of (bad?) RP advice that encourages such behavior. But that is not the limits of acting, or of role-playing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corvus View Post
    Thats why I still prefer 2e - a 9 str, 16 int, 16 cha fighter is not just feasible but also fun in 2e as they have a role outside of combat, something that wouldn't work in 3e and 4e.
    Woot woot! Here's to 2e, the best RPG I've played!

  12. - Top - End - #132
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoxus View Post
    Plot is literally 'what happens in a story'.
    And what's happening at the gaming table, at least the ones I play at, isn't a story.
    Any more than me living my life is living the story of my life.

    Or, as 13th Age advocates, always fall forward
    That lets you catch yourself with your hands.

    Fail-forward is another of those internet memes that I'm not a big fan of. It's sure beats being session locked because there's no alternatives that let you do anything else. But it comes about in the first place because of GMs (and adventure writers) that only provided one path to anything fun or meaningful to do.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Fail-forward is another of those internet memes that I'm not a big fan of. It's sure beats being session locked because there's no alternatives that let you do anything else. But it comes about in the first place because of GMs (and adventure writers) that only provided one path to anything fun or meaningful to do.
    Rather, it comes about in the first place because of tabletop rpgs with binary pass/fail systems that didn't provide any guidance on how to adjudicate failure or make failure interesting, thus leading to the difficulties you're talking about. There's a tendency to make GMs the scapegoats for the poor design of the games they use, and I don't think that's remotely fair.

  14. - Top - End - #134
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    I think any definition of plot that doesn't apply as soon as a single IC decision is made is too narrow to be useful.

    Imagine a campaign where the GM had the entire story plotted out from the start, and the players were entirely on board with that. Every decision was made for narrative effect, and the dice were ignored as necessary for the plot to continue as planned. I would say that game definitely had a plot and was plot-based.

    Now imagine the same campaign, except in one session a player bought a barrel of ale for the road - not for any narrative reason, but because it had been a while since they'd been in town and he figured his character would be tired of just water and trail rations. Suddenly the entire campaign doesn't have a plot because of that? I don't think so.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-09-13 at 08:25 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoxus View Post
    Are you talking about fiction you've written or games you've run?
    Mostly the first, but it does apply to my own stories, collaborative stories, games I've run and games I have played in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    And what's happening at the gaming table, at least the ones I play at, isn't a story.
    OK, finally this is one I can speak to. Now this is my opinion on the matter and/or how I view it: No, what's happening at the gaming table isn't a story (until you recount it). But what is happening in fiction is in fact a story. Because people are making it up and recounting it as the game continues. By fiction I mean anything that isn't actually happening. "I got a 6 [that happens] and miss the orc [well you got a miss result]." "The orc brings up her shield and your blade slams into it [that never happened]." And those bits and pieces are fragments of a plot that, combined with the characters and setting and anything else you care to include, forms the story.

    And no, it doesn't have to be planned.

    Fail-forward is another of those internet memes that I'm not a big fan of.
    What? People do that with fail-forward? Having thought about it for a moment: Yes people do that with fail forward for the reasons you mentioned. But I think it is more fundamentally, don't push back, the natural result shouldn't be nothing happens, try again. I have a thread about this, I should finish that.

  16. - Top - End - #136
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    And what's happening at the gaming table, at least the ones I play at, isn't a story.
    Any more than me living my life is living the story of my life.
    Then isn't the "what happened" of the campaign a byproduct of playing the campaign just like the "what happened" of your life is a byproduct of you living you life?


    That sounds like a story to me. It is not an intentional story. It may make English professors weep (joy or sadness?) at how agency avoids the tropes and clichés authors use when they intend to write literature. However it still sounds like a story to me.

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    Exclamation Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Kymme View Post
    Rather, it comes about in the first place because of tabletop rpgs with binary pass/fail systems that didn't provide any guidance on how to adjudicate failure or make failure interesting, thus leading to the difficulties you're talking about. There's a tendency to make GMs the scapegoats for the poor design of the games they use, and I don't think that's remotely fair.
    Not at all. As long as there's more than one option of something to do, binary pass/fail is often appropriate.

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    Imagine a campaign where the GM had the entire story plotted out from the start,
    Lord, I'd rather not.

    Now imagine the same campaign, except in one session a player bought a barrel of ale for the road - not for any narrative reason, but because it had been a while since they'd been in town and he figured his character would be tired of just water and trail rations. Suddenly the entire campaign doesn't have a plot because of that? I don't think so.
    Your mistake is in assuming that it goes from plotted to not plotted.

    But yes, playing a game can be a mix of playing the characters and playing the story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    But what is happening in fiction is in fact a story. Because people are making it up and recounting it as the game continues. By fiction I mean anything that isn't actually happening. "I got a 6 [that happens] and miss the orc [well you got a miss result]." "The orc brings up her shield and your blade slams into it [that never happened]." And those bits and pieces are fragments of a plot that, combined with the characters and setting and anything else you care to include, forms the story.
    Maybe for you. But I'm neither playing the plot not playing the story when I do that, and that's a fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Then isn't the "what happened" of the campaign a byproduct of playing the campaign just like the "what happened" of your life is a byproduct of you living you life?
    Yes

    That sounds like a story to me. It is not an intentional story. It may make English professors weep (joy or sadness?) at how agency avoids the tropes and clichés authors use when they intend to write literature. However it still sounds like a story to me.
    Of course, recounting the what happened of either a campaign or events in my life at a later date is a form of storytelling. Including often consciously or subconsciously editing the telling in some way to add some kind of narrative (ie a point to the recounting).

    But when I play my game or live my life, I'm not doing that. Unless the game or table, for some reason, specifically includes some factor of playing the story instead of my character. Although I generally skip games that are heavily like that. Some don't do it heavily enough that it's a problem for me. Like 13th age.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Not at all. As long as there's more than one option of something to do, binary pass/fail is often appropriate.
    I'm not certain we're in disagreement here. Pass/fail systems can work perfectly well if there is some guidance or framework in how to adjudicate them. Having more than one option of something to do, to not trap players in dead ends, could be a sage piece of that guidance or framework! But providing that guidance in the first place is something that the system ought to do.

  19. - Top - End - #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Fail-forward is another of those internet memes that I'm not a big fan of. It's sure beats being session locked because there's no alternatives that let you do anything else. But it comes about in the first place because of GMs (and adventure writers) that only provided one path to anything fun or meaningful to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kymme View Post
    Rather, it comes about in the first place because of tabletop rpgs with binary pass/fail systems that didn't provide any guidance on how to adjudicate failure or make failure interesting, thus leading to the difficulties you're talking about. There's a tendency to make GMs the scapegoats for the poor design of the games they use, and I don't think that's remotely fair.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kymme View Post
    I'm not certain we're in disagreement here. Pass/fail systems can work perfectly well if there is some guidance or framework in how to adjudicate them. Having more than one option of something to do, to not trap players in dead ends, could be a sage piece of that guidance or framework! But providing that guidance in the first place is something that the system ought to do.
    I feel that that is advice at the level of "do not pour boiling hot coffee on your crotch", "do not place child in oven, bring food to child", and "do not taunt Super Happy Fun Ball".

    Which, sadly, means that humanity probably needs that advice to be explicitly given.

    Still, I'm… Hmmm… uncertain if the original comment would be equivalent to, "the idea of 'fail forward' is bad, and should be replaced with 'rule of 3', and/or 'branching paths', and/or…?"?
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-09-13 at 10:21 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    But I think it is more fundamentally, don't push back, the natural result shouldn't be nothing happens, try again.
    I agree with this statement, and wish more people would accept it. If there isn't an interesting result for both success and failure, don't roll. Both branches should lead the ongoing set of events[1] somewhere interesting, even if it's not the direction the players intended.

    [1] trying really hard to avoid the s-word or p-word here
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  21. - Top - End - #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    And HP doesn't completely throw this out the window? Like Quertus is a pretty high level wizard be now right? So if someone with average strength came up to Quertus and started stabbing him with a knife, Quertus could probably wait for a full minute before reacting to that and nothing he was wearing or carrying would be damaged by this. And you have no issue integrating this into the world? Is that actually how Quertus (the character) thinks about getting stabbed or have you patched over it and now do so reflexively? This is not a rhetorical question, in fact you might be the only person I would pose this question to as a non-rhetorical question.
    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    EDIT: additive vs subtractive! I'll bet a penny that's (at least related to) your issue (or my lack thereof)! I'll cover this when I get time.
    Well, my first reply covered *most* of this; now to the concept of "additive vs subtractive".

    "The game is set in the past" is a subtractive limiter on role-playing - there's plenty of things that we know about that don't exist yet, and so it's generally bad role-playing to reference anachronistic concepts.

    But "can tank a dagger" is more of an additive role-playing feature, *especially* when it's "some people can tank daggers" *and* "you can now tank daggers, but didn't used to be able to do so". You can still roleplay exactly the kind of reactions one might have IRL, and it's perfectly reasonable for the character to behave that way. Additionally, you could alternatively roleplay the character understanding and accepting their superlative "meat points", and casually taking the dagger hits. ("Slit my throat! *Ung* Do it again!")

    I'm generally in the "pain hurts" side of roleplay (especially for characters who are still alive for me to roleplay them…), but I do have one character who's all about bravado, who got run through by a unicorn, and shrugged it off with something along the lines of, "c'mon, I've had piercings that hurt worse than this. You really should stop attacking, and actually negotiate." (or some such)

    So HP is an "additive" roleplay feature, that allows additional options to be valid, rather than limiting your choices by subtracting options.

    Contrariwise, the skill systems in question are subtractive, removing "reasonable" options of roleplay as unreasonable within those game physics. (Where "change" is subtractive and additive)

    Clear as mud?
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-09-13 at 11:39 PM.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I agree with this statement, and wish more people would accept it. If there isn't an interesting result for both success and failure, don't roll. Both branches should lead the ongoing set of events[1] somewhere interesting, even if it's not the direction the players intended.

    [1] trying really hard to avoid the s-word or p-word here
    I think that's a great reason to roll dice. I don't think it's the only reason to though. Dice resolve uncertainty, and uncertainty can be found not only in instances of interesting results, but also humorous results that aren't particularly interesting, to name one example.

    There was once the the character got drunk and passed out at the bar. Another character tried to help him to a bed and failed every single check to do so. Not particularly interesting in any way, but was really fun and humurous due to the descriptions. I'd hate to see checks like that get cut out of the game because what happens on a success or failure isn't particularly interesting.
    Last edited by Frogreaver; 2021-09-14 at 02:05 AM.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I agree with this statement, and wish more people would accept it. If there isn't an interesting result for both success and failure, don't roll. Both branches should lead the ongoing set of events[1] somewhere interesting, even if it's not the direction the players intended.

    [1] trying really hard to avoid the s-word or p-word here
    I would say, one should roll, if both

    a) all results are plausible as in you don't have any difficulties explaining failures or successes afterwards without straining credibility
    b) at least one person at the table actually cares about the result

    The "can be repeated endlessly without consequence" usually falls short of the second part and should thus mostly be omitted. But even then sometimes players want to roll for bragging rights.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-09-14 at 02:28 AM.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I feel that that is advice at the level of "do not pour boiling hot coffee on your crotch", "do not place child in oven, bring food to child", and "do not taunt Super Happy Fun Ball".

    Which, sadly, means that humanity probably needs that advice to be explicitly given.

    Still, I'm… Hmmm… uncertain if the original comment would be equivalent to, "the idea of 'fail forward' is bad, and should be replaced with 'rule of 3', and/or 'branching paths', and/or…?"?
    You misunderstand me. I don't think that this sort of thing should be advice at all. I think it should be rules text, a framework about how the game functions. An issue I have with a lot of tradgames is that the GM operates completely on fiat, with no rules or framework. They're not playing the same game as the players, even slightly. Many of my favorite modern ttrpgs place the GM inside a framework that provides rules they need to follow. The best new games sculpt these GM frameworks to the point where they help you make decisions and improvise on the fly, and relieve a lot of the typical pressure that older games just force you to deal with.

    There are a lot of fascinating games out there that are experimenting and doing new things, and I think that's really cool.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Maybe for you. But I'm neither playing the plot not playing the story when I do that, and that's a fact.
    Actually its by my definitions, I think we are actually playing the same way. Maybe the ratios are a bit different. The only difference is whether one includes figuring out what a character would do in storytelling or not. I do because it happens in storytelling all the time and you don't. Actually I don't know why, I had some guess about you looking out from role-playing but I don't think you ever commented on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Clear as mud?
    Is that different then deciding whether or not the mechanic is cannon scene by scene? I might need some time with this one.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Frogreaver View Post
    I think that's a great reason to roll dice. I don't think it's the only reason to though. Dice resolve uncertainty, and uncertainty can be found not only in instances of interesting results, but also humorous results that aren't particularly interesting, to name one example.

    There was once the the character got drunk and passed out at the bar. Another character tried to help him to a bed and failed every single check to do so. Not particularly interesting in any way, but was really fun and humurous due to the descriptions. I'd hate to see checks like that get cut out of the game because what happens on a success or failure isn't particularly interesting.
    Yeah, I think that the post you were replying to (that I somehow failed to QUOTE) was looking at things backwards, like database designers talking about buttons having shirts, and shirts having owners.

    To my mind, you should want to design your game / content such that it isn't fragile / doesn't fall apart to a "wrong" result / can handle both success and failure (and "yes, but…", and "no, however", and…) and still result in an interesting game, rather than railroad the only result that you find interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    I would say, one should roll, if both

    a) all results are plausible as in you don't have any difficulties explaining failures or successes afterwards without straining credibility
    b) at least one person at the table actually cares about the result

    The "can be repeated endlessly without consequence" usually falls short of the second part and should thus mostly be omitted. But even then sometimes players want to roll for bragging rights.
    Lego Batman: "first try!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kymme View Post
    You misunderstand me. I don't think that this sort of thing should be advice at all. I think it should be rules text, a framework about how the game functions. An issue I have with a lot of tradgames is that the GM operates completely on fiat, with no rules or framework. They're not playing the same game as the players, even slightly. Many of my favorite modern ttrpgs place the GM inside a framework that provides rules they need to follow. The best new games sculpt these GM frameworks to the point where they help you make decisions and improvise on the fly, and relieve a lot of the typical pressure that older games just force you to deal with.

    There are a lot of fascinating games out there that are experimenting and doing new things, and I think that's really cool.
    Interesting. Care to suggest an easy to read freeware example?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Is that different then deciding whether or not the mechanic is cannon scene by scene? I might need some time with this one.
    Very much so.

    Things like "innocent until proven guilty", "free health care", sales tax, tipping your waitress, air pressure, temperature, gravity? These aren't constant throughout the universe IRL.

    But if I tell you that your character is starting at the top of the top of the highest mountain on earth as of noon yesterday, or starting on a mining colony on Jupiter, you can probably manage to not be surprised by the value of these variables if you recognize that they are variables. And, once you know that they are variables, and know their current values, you can make not unreasonable predictions about the scope of those values, and their likely future values.

    Under a good GM, HP will behave some version of reasonably throughout their setting, unless them behaving unreasonably *is* the Plot.

    On a world where a shirtless Barbarian can tank a dagger dozens of times, Quertus could do likewise[1]. Not that he would, of course.

    And I would love to create a thread about "depth of comprehension", and the problem that mismatches (and mismatched expectations) can cause… but I don't really understand the concept at a sufficient depth yet to do so.

    [1] unless that world is one of the rare few that have an "import home settings" default.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    I think the concept of "failing forward" is best expressed as a statement that any result should let the game keep being played. Whether this means you wind up following the same plot as if you'd failed or not says more about the linearity (or non-) of the game you're playing than anything else.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    I have fixed feelings on Fail Forward. Often it makes sense, and I've been in a game where the combat would have been seriously improved by it (attack and parry were independent rolls, only a successful attack with a failed parry had any effect, so against equal foes about 2/3rd of the rounds had nothing change). And for some play-styles, it's a direct improvement.

    The one that it doesn't mesh well with is what I'd call ... adventure game style, maybe? Where you start by examining the thing / situation, then try relatively safe methods of interaction first, then based on the results of that you move on to other tactics.

    So if you're trying to get into a fortress you might first try getting as close to it as you can without being spotted, watching the guard patterns, seeing who's going in and out legitimately, turning into a bird and getting a view from high above, asking the local earth spirits how deep underground the walls go, pretending to be a traveler and engaging some guards on leave in conversation, and so forth.

    These aren't expected to solve "getting into the fortress" alone, and neither should they each be a risk of blowing the whole plan. They're preparation for the more risky / decisive part, and a result of "nothing happened" is perfectly valid for them.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-09-14 at 03:26 PM.

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    Default Re: 13th Age vs 4th Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    I have fixed feelings on Fail Forward. Often it makes sense, and I've been in a game where the combat would have been seriously improved by it (attack and parry were independent rolls, only a successful attack with a failed parry had any effect, so against equal foes about 2/3rd of the rounds had nothing change). And for some play-styles, it's a direct improvement.

    The one that it doesn't mesh well with is what I'd call ... adventure game style, maybe? Where you start by examining the thing / situation, then try relatively safe methods of interaction first, then based on the results of that you move on to other tactics.

    So if you're trying to get into a fortress you might first try getting as close to it as you can without being spotted, watching the guard patterns, seeing who's going in and out legitimately, turning into a bird and getting a view from high above, asking the local earth spirits how deep underground the walls go, pretending to be a traveler and engaging some guards on leave in conversation, and so forth.

    These aren't expected to solve "getting into the fortress" alone, and neither should they each be a risk of blowing the whole plan. They're preparation for the more risky / decisive part, and a result of "nothing happened" is perfectly valid for them.
    "Nothing happened" isn't accurate, though. Defenses were probed, the party avoided capture and came away with more intel. "Fail forward" is about what happens when you run up against, say, a locked door and you have to pick it, or a character you have to persuade to help you. It's not great design to have everything hinge on that one roll, but sometimes it does (especially if it's just that this was the last of a long chain of things you tried and this is the only one left you can think of). When such things happen, "you failed, so we're done playing the game; you lost," may or may not be appropriate, but "fail forward" says that you should have something happen that opens new doors. They don't have to be the doors the party was seeking, but there should be something happening because of it.

    Even if it's just that now the party's quest, after Bob failed to jump over the ravine, is to find a healer to fix his broken leg. That continues the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kymme View Post
    You misunderstand me. I don't think that this sort of thing should be advice at all. I think it should be rules text, a framework about how the game functions. An issue I have with a lot of tradgames is that the GM operates completely on fiat, with no rules or framework. They're not playing the same game as the players, even slightly. Many of my favorite modern ttrpgs place the GM inside a framework that provides rules they need to follow. The best new games sculpt these GM frameworks to the point where they help you make decisions and improvise on the fly, and relieve a lot of the typical pressure that older games just force you to deal with.
    While I agree that it is great to see the variety of games that exist, and that it's a good thing when games are clear about how they are meant to be run, I cannot agree that this particular new trend is entirely positive.

    While creating a stronger system diversity, I think it also reduces GM diversity, forcing the people running these games to adopt a singular, mass-produced style of running games. And that's at its best. At worst, it creates an experience that feels restrictive and forced for those around the table when the group does not fit the finely crafted playstyle at all.

    Keep also in mind that improv-heavy games come with their own sort of pressure, even when you are guided by the system. It is not right to assume that it is objectively better or easier for GMs, especially new ones, just because it tells you what steps you are supposed to follow in any situation. For some people, a prepared framework with a clear, expected throughline is far easier to run (and even improvise for in the moment) than an adventure that only is crafted at the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    These aren't expected to solve "getting into the fortress" alone, and neither should they each be a risk of blowing the whole plan. They're preparation for the more risky / decisive part, and a result of "nothing happened" is perfectly valid for them.
    While its a bit overstated to say a failed roll or even success at a cost would risk blowing the plan, many of those systems would demand those kinds of rolls to still reveal new dangers on a bad roll, which also goes against the point of doing these things in a more traditional adventuring playstyle. Just want to point that out pre-emptively, before someone makes that argument against Icefractal's point.

    That said, one of the bigger flaws of failing forward in my opinion, especially in systems that make heavy use of partial successes, is that they create a specific sort of pacing. Once every action has to drive the story forward, it can get hectic, as new developments and dangers await at just about every corner. Planning and laid-back scenes of experimentation and interaction are discouraged, as are scenes that aren't story-relevant since the mechanics can no longer really be applied to them without making it part of the story.

    Its not bad, and is something I find very nice occasionally when solo roleplaying. (Ironsworn and Starforged are fantastic games, to be precise about which games I mean by that.) It may even be quite nice for one-shots, though I haven't tried anything like that. What I have done is implement occasional fail forward elements in my games, as it is a genuinely useful tool at times for when the game would otherwise just end or stall. But playing by it entirely has repurcussions that I cannot call clearly positive.
    Last edited by Theoboldi; 2021-09-14 at 04:36 PM.

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