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Thread: Is it logical

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    Default Is it logical

    So I have a Home brew system in which strength is used to wield heavier weapons, and dexterity is used for accuracy.
    Each weapon has 2 heavy ratings one for characters of average dexterity and one for characters with exceptional dexterity.
    So a sword might have 3/4 thus a character would need a strength of three to use the weapon with no penalty, and a strength of 4 to get the full benefit of a 4+ dexterity. (using the weapon in two hands reduces the heavy rating by 2).

    The logic being that such fast agile attacks require you to be able to effortlessly lift your weapons. Thus encouraging weak agile characters to use weapons like daggers.

    I had a player who apparently found this deeply unintuitive and felt dexterity should make heavy weapons easier to wield and claimed that was normal in rpgs.

    So while most people have had no problem understanding the rule I want to minimize cognitive load, the more unintuitive things the players need to wrap the worse it is.

    So does this system seem unintuitive to you and have you encountered a system where agility reduced the effective weight of a weapon.
    Last edited by awa; 2023-09-16 at 10:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Is it logical

    How likely are characters to have 4 Strength AND 4 Dexterity? Is it a deliberate attempt to force a tradeoff between weapon damage and accuracy?

    "Normal in RPGs" is a big wide category. I've seen everything between "Rocket launcher is rolled using it's own individual skill (Ranged Combat Rocket Launchers) and you take a penalty if your Strength isn't high enough to lift it" to "Your weapons are purely descriptive, and there's no difference between a punch and a rocket launcher".
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    Default Re: Is it logical

    If I am understanding this correctly, you have certain weapons that use strength for damage and dexterity for attack with set thresholds to attack with no penalty and/or some sort of bonus to either rating?
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    Default Re: Is it logical

    Completely logical.
    Historically larger/stronger people wielded heavier versions of a weapon than smaller/weaker people.
    The question isnít so much is it logical? The question should be do you want such a fine degree of granularity?

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    From a pure realism standpoint it's unlikely that the exercises that lead to increased flexibility and precision wouldn't also increase strength. Stats in the real world are interconnected in ways that stats in RPGs rarely are.

    What's way more important in an RPG is how balanced certain options are. Try building a few characters as you'd expect them to be built, then show some of your system to the playground and see how well they can break it. If certain choices look like they're really strong or weak, know that players will gravitate towards/away from those builds. The most realistic, logically consistent RPG possible would be a bad game if everybody only wound up playing the one dominant build.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stoutstien View Post
    If I am understanding this correctly, you have certain weapons that use strength for damage and dexterity for attack with set thresholds to attack with no penalty and/or some sort of bonus to either rating?
    mostly right all weapons but for a small weapon it might be 0/1 and a really big weapon 6/8 (requiring two hands or superhuman strength)

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    How likely are characters to have 4 Strength AND 4 Dexterity? Is it a deliberate attempt to force a tradeoff between weapon damage and accuracy?
    You could definitively do it at the cost to other attributes but

    Yes it is a deliberate attempt, armor works by damage reduction but if you hit by a large enough margin you get a crit which does some extra damage but also greatly reduces the effectiveness of armor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    From a pure realism standpoint it's unlikely that the exercises that lead to increased flexibility and precision wouldn't also increase strength. Stats in the real world are interconnected in ways that stats in RPGs rarely are.

    What's way more important in an RPG is how balanced certain options are. Try building a few characters as you'd expect them to be built, then show some of your system to the playground and see how well they can break it. If certain choices look like they're really strong or weak, know that players will gravitate towards/away from those builds. The most realistic, logically consistent RPG possible would be a bad game if everybody only wound up playing the one dominant build.
    to a point that true, but strength is also linked to size and Str 4 is usually described as big as a linebacker and say fencers rarely have the raw power of a linebacker. Normal humans only go up to a 5 in the stat and unlike d&d the system says a weak fast character is only going to be using knives you need some strength to use weapons like even light swords.

    In terms of mechanical balance the game works fine, strong clumsy characters play differently but are viable favoring the biggest heaviest weapons and attacks with knock back; they thrive against low agility high armor targets but suffer against high evasion foes, high dex low strength suffer against monster that are hard to crit or have high armor but are great at targeting high evasion monsters not to mention having better out of combat options. A middle ground of good dex and str is very viable because most enemies are somewhere in between themselves.

    My old gaming group who was experienced with the home-brew fell apart due to life after many years and i'm struggling to put together a new one i'm tweaking the system to constantly improve it and this was one area that a short lived new person apparently bounced off of. So I wanted to see what people think if they agreed with her assessment or if this was an area that needed to be changed.
    Last edited by awa; 2023-09-17 at 08:51 AM.

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    Default Re: Is it logical

    Your rules are fine, though I would work on notation. I don't find x/y to be a great way to express "minimum strength to wield, minimum strength to get full dex bonus". You might want to make a separate rule or equation of it, so that you only need to list the strength requirement for each weapon and the other value is derived from it via the rule.

    As for your player's argument, roleplaying games are all over the place for how strength and dexterity interact with one another, provided they even have those statistics. These often have only the thinnest relationship to reality. Abstract math rarely manages to catch much of the nuances of physical combat. Some of your favorite tropes about it might be fabrications by people who've never engaged in it and have no insight of it.

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    Default Re: Is it logical

    I just incorporate it into the weapon table, the amount for max dex varies between 1 for most weapons to 2 for some what clumsy weapons.

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    Default Re: Is it logical

    Trying to put too much logic into Dex vs Str is bound to encounter opposition, since the D&D standard is at the opposite of reality (bows and one-handed weapons, especially daggers, rely a lot more on strength than a two handed sword, which would be the best weapon for a high dex low strength fighter).

    I would advise you to either get away from the Strength vs Dexterity (Arms vs Legs and Combat vs Movements are two alternatives that works well enough), or double down on the "archetype-based ability scores" (Dexterity is used for every weapon a rogue is supposed to be good at, Strenght is used for every weapon the barbarian is supposed to be good at).
    Last edited by MoiMagnus; 2023-09-17 at 11:54 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    Trying to put too much logic into Dex vs Str is bound to encounter opposition, since the D&D standard is at the opposite of reality (bows and one-handed weapons, especially daggers, rely a lot more on strength than a two handed sword, which would be the best weapon for a high dex low strength fighter).

    I would advise you to either get away from the Strength vs Dexterity (Arms vs Legs and Combat vs Movements are two alternatives that works well enough), or double down on the "archetype-based ability scores" (Dexterity is used for every weapon a rogue is supposed to be good at, Strenght is used for every weapon the barbarian is supposed to be good at).
    I mean war bows have a pretty high heavy rating but how do daggers require lots of strength? Keeping in mind str still does the damage even for a dagger.

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    Default Re: Is it logical

    it's logical, but complicated.
    i especially don't like the two ratings, one for normal characters, one for very dextrous characters. what about those in the middle? how easy it is to relate those two values with someone with a 2 in dex?


    the general concept is sound, but it may benefit from some polish on how stats are handled
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    Default Re: Is it logical

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    or double down on the "archetype-based ability scores" (Dexterity is used for every weapon a rogue is supposed to be good at, Strenght is used for every weapon the barbarian is supposed to be good at).
    This is my preference. You can have muscles without being Strong, you can be coordinated without being Nimble. Ability scores are about approaches and archetypes (in this model) more than actual physical parameters.

    The Archer is strong, but not muscle-bound. He is better at more precision-based, rapid approaches. The Brute is visibly buff and great at brute force approaches that don't depend on hitting them right in a weak spot. Etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    it's logical, but complicated.
    i especially don't like the two ratings, one for normal characters, one for very dextrous characters. what about those in the middle? how easy it is to relate those two values with someone with a 2 in dex?

    If you have 2 dex you use the first value. If you have a dex of 4 or higher and aren't strong enough you are unable to get the full benefit from your dex with that weapon and thus would be treated as having only a 3 dex.
    Last edited by awa; 2023-09-17 at 01:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    You could definitively do it at the cost to other attributes but

    Yes it is a deliberate attempt, armor works by damage reduction but if you hit by a large enough margin you get a crit which does some extra damage but also greatly reduces the effectiveness of armor..
    So good Fighters need both Str and Dex. Yes, it's very logical. As Anymage says, the sort of fighting exercises that affect one will affect the other in the real world. The division is purely a game one to create different archetypes so that everyone isn't the same type of fighter. If you'd rather promote real world logic over character diversity in builds, that's a fine choice. It's only a question of what you want your rules to do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    So good Fighters need both Str and Dex. Yes, it's very logical. As Anymage says, the sort of fighting exercises that affect one will affect the other in the real world. The division is purely a game one to create different archetypes so that everyone isn't the same type of fighter. If you'd rather promote real world logic over character diversity in builds, that's a fine choice. It's only a question of what you want your rules to do.
    High strength/ low dex can be viable through using moves like intimidate, charges, or flanking for temporary accuracy boosts. Or even just aid actions from allies. They are good at bringing down high durability low evasion targets like undead. (from a meta perspective the player fight more big dumb monsters than agile duelists)

    High dex/ low str characters like sneak attack, poison and so on. As dex increases evasion they are good against slow heavy brutes without good armor and small fast foes. (from a meta perspective dex has a lot more noncombat applications than str)

    So their are lots of different viable builds they just play differently which I consider a virtue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    I mean war bows have a pretty high heavy rating but how do daggers require lots of strength? Keeping in mind str still does the damage even for a dagger.
    (1) Because the most effective way to fight with a dagger is to grapple or tackle the other person first.

    (2) You don't have any reach, so it's raw strength without any leverage. Outside of the situation where you can put all your weight on the attack (which usually require your enemy to be on the ground after taking them), you will struggle to have any force, and longer weapons make it easier to compensate for your lack of strength.

    (3) It's a one-handed weapon, so you only have the strenght of a single hand. So if you have any opposition (parade, protection, etc), you'll not have enough stenght to win the opposition.

    (4) While it's more on the "defense" side, you don't want to be in melee without a weapon with a decent reach against peoples stronger than you. Because grappling is immensely easier against peoples who have no reach.

    (5) Still on the "defense" side, if you want to use your dexterity to avoid enemy strikes, you want to have some level of reach. The closer you are to your enemy, the less time you have to react to opponent's movement.

    And there are probably other factors that I'm missing, but that's all I remember from what my friends doing medieval martial arts told me when they explained me why the strenght difference was much more significant for dagger combat than for two handed sword combat.

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    well than the game already accounts for some of that because daggers get a bonus in a grapple and people with a high strength are better at grapples.

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    Default Re: Is it logical

    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    I just incorporate it into the weapon table, the amount for max dex varies between 1 for most weapons to 2 for some what clumsy weapons.
    Then I'd think you'd be doing yourself a favor to have a min strength (and size if it's an option for players) requirement in the weapons table. If you're going for logic it would also behoove you to segregate the "dodge/miss" mechanic with "armor/shield deflects/absorbs the damage" mechanic. It would increase the amount of mechanics involved in the game. More mechanics means more overhead in simply attacking someone, but it is also more "hooks" for customization. Mechanics can be adjusted/modified when building characters/equipment and on the fly when describing attacks.

    An example is half-swording, where you trade power for armor piercing, and you change from strength to dexterity. No such thing is possible in a game like D&D (any edition) because the mechanics are so streamlined. But half-swording was a real historic tactic when dealing with heavily armored enemies, so it is very logical to have mechanics that allow it.
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    Default Re: Is it logical

    Personally, I'd give a penalty to attack rolls for being weaker than the weapon's minimum strength requirement, rather than placing a cap on effective dexterity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    Then I'd think you'd be doing yourself a favor to have a min strength (and size if it's an option for players) requirement in the weapons table. If you're going for logic it would also behoove you to segregate the "dodge/miss" mechanic with "armor/shield deflects/absorbs the damage" mechanic. It would increase the amount of mechanics involved in the game. More mechanics means more overhead in simply attacking someone, but it is also more "hooks" for customization. Mechanics can be adjusted/modified when building characters/equipment and on the fly when describing attacks.

    An example is half-swording, where you trade power for armor piercing, and you change from strength to dexterity. No such thing is possible in a game like D&D (any edition) because the mechanics are so streamlined. But half-swording was a real historic tactic when dealing with heavily armored enemies, so it is very logical to have mechanics that allow it.

    the first of the two numbers in the heavy rating represents the minimum required str, you suffer a -2 penalty to hit and defense for each point you fail by (max -4 at which point you cant use it as all.)

    the game does separate evasion (dex+bab) from armor which is a combination of variable damage reduction, converting damage into non-lethal and making it harder to crit.

    while no weapon that would be appropriate for half-swording exists in the setting most weapons have two attack types; an ax with an armor piercing back spike is the obvious example. Stabbing weapons often have the Keen trait negating some or all of the armors crit resistance and crits (which are caused by beating the target defense by a certain amount) bypass most of an armor benefits.

    So if great swords were a weapon it would be a secondary attack option that increases the weapons Keen rating at the cost of reducing damage. (slashing swords in the game tend to have the Razor trait that increases their damage against unarmored enemies.)

    The game does put a lot of detail into the weapon and armor systems but it tries to make up for it by minimizing the complexity of magic, and not having ability damage among other things.
    Last edited by awa; 2023-09-18 at 07:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Is it logical

    If the setting has arming swords (sometimes called long swords) and plate armor, then the setting has situations where it is appropriate to half sword.

    Is this a modern or sci-fi setting?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    If the setting has arming swords (sometimes called long swords) and plate armor, then the setting has situations where it is appropriate to half sword.

    Is this a modern or sci-fi setting?
    Chain mail is the heaviest armor, and the heaviest swords are curved.

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    I guess I'll ask this:
    Aside from an apparent desire for (or at least more of) realism/verisimilitude, what are your actual goals? As in, what do you want a low/med/high Str and low/med/high Dex character to wield and how do you want combat to go for them?

    For instance: do you want high str/low dex characters (perhaps ogres, or nicknamed 'ogre' in an all-human game) running around with mauls and greatclubs; and do you want them to hit rarely, but when they do it is devastating? In that scenario, you could dump the complicated rules and just have Dex inform to-hit and Str inform damage, and give each weapon effects which key off the resultant scenarios -- big swinging weapons maybe get a cleave/damage-passthrough effect which benefits rare-but-powerful hits, nimble weapons used by high-dex people have effects which are better if you hit most rounds, etc.

    That's just a more straightforward example, but the point is there's a any number of ways that combat rules can support a given vision, and you can usually support that with rules which also benefit verisimilitude. IRL example: Worlds Without Number -- the author knows that, in lightly armored like knife fights and such, even the winner will walk away with defensive wounds and minor nicks and cuts. That was important enough that he included rules where you will take minor damage regardless of the enemy 'missing,' negated by certain armor levels for certain weapons (setting up where someone in plate needs something which can half-sword). That was a real-world combat issue that was important enough for the developer to implement in their abstract combat mechanics. Do that same: what's important to you, and how can the combat system support that notion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    I guess I'll ask this:
    Aside from an apparent desire for (or at least more of) realism/verisimilitude, what are your actual goals? As in, what do you want a low/med/high Str and low/med/high Dex character to wield and how do you want combat to go for them?

    For instance: do you want high str/low dex characters (perhaps ogres, or nicknamed 'ogre' in an all-human game) running around with mauls and greatclubs; and do you want them to hit rarely, but when they do it is devastating? In that scenario, you could dump the complicated rules and just have Dex inform to-hit and Str inform damage, and give each weapon effects which key off the resultant scenarios -- big swinging weapons maybe get a cleave/damage-passthrough effect which benefits rare-but-powerful hits, nimble weapons used by high-dex people have effects which are better if you hit most rounds, etc.

    That's just a more straightforward example, but the point is there's a any number of ways that combat rules can support a given vision, and you can usually support that with rules which also benefit verisimilitude. IRL example: Worlds Without Number -- the author knows that, in lightly armored like knife fights and such, even the winner will walk away with defensive wounds and minor nicks and cuts. That was important enough that he included rules where you will take minor damage regardless of the enemy 'missing,' negated by certain armor levels for certain weapons (setting up where someone in plate needs something which can half-sword). That was a real-world combat issue that was important enough for the developer to implement in their abstract combat mechanics. Do that same: what's important to you, and how can the combat system support that notion?
    Shock is such a good little feature. Not only does it make combat less static it also means if you do invest at avoiding it(close combatant) you feel like it was worth while because you shrugging off a lot of damage that wears down a bit so large ho pool.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    I guess I'll ask this:
    Aside from an apparent desire for (or at least more of) realism/verisimilitude, what are your actual goals?
    The system works fine i've been playing the game with it for a number of years, tweaking the system a bit for different setting but that was with the same group of people. When that group broke up I tried to start up a new group that never really got off the ground and one of those short lived players so vehemently disagreed with that rule that I wanted to see what other people thought. Since most people seem to be saying its fine I will do the easy thing and leave it as is.
    So as a design goal

    A significant part of what I wanted was to encourage balanced characters so every stat is useful but no stat is mandatory.
    Last edited by awa; 2023-09-18 at 02:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Your rules are fine, though I would work on notation. I don't find x/y to be a great way to express "minimum strength to wield, minimum strength to get full dex bonus". You might want to make a separate rule or equation of it, so that you only need to list the strength requirement for each weapon and the other value is derived from it via the rule.
    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    I just incorporate it into the weapon table, the amount for max dex varies between 1 for most weapons to 2 for some what clumsy weapons.
    Either can work. If the "rule" for dex effects is broadlly defined, then putting the numbers in the weapon table makes sense (doubly so if different weapons have different relative numbers).

    I have something similar in one of the games I play where there is a str requirement to use a weapon normally (with minuses if you don't have it), but then some special moves require having some number of additional amount of str to use. Specificaly, we have rules for being able to use a special skill of riposte (basically, you get a free attack against your attacker if you have this skill and make your parry). But you must have X more strength than the base to do this, so that light weapons are pretty easy to use with this skill (super easy given that some light weapons have no str requirement at all), but heavier weapons require more strength. In this case, the "X" value is specific to a size category for the weapons, so it's contained in the rules for riposte itself.

    But yeah, if it was more of a general "you can get a bonus for having really high dex, but only if you have enough str to actually be able to move the weapon that fast", I could see just putting the values in the weapon table.

    Kinda depends on how detailed you want things. From your descriptions of your game here, it does feel like it's pretty detailed, with lots of different values for different things. So that seems appropriate to met.

    And yeah, I'll agree with others, this is a completely logical and realistic thing. It does make sense that special moves one can make with a light weapon will both requires a higher dex *and* be more difficult to do with a heavy weapon. Furthermore, it also makes sense that if one is strong enough to swing that war maul around as easily as a normal person might swing a short blade, they should be able to use the same special moves with that war maul (if they have the dex to do them as well). And this mechanic does simulate that.

    The real question is whether you want to get into weapon size issues too...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbaji View Post

    The real question is whether you want to get into weapon size issues too...
    weapons attacks can have a wide rating (1 or 2) or a narrow rating (1 or 2) depending on how much room you need to use them effectively. Many weapons that have a thrust and stab option have different values depending on how your attacking. So your 10ft polearm will be of limited use in a 5ft wide corridor.

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    Default Bad game terminology is bad.

    So, this isn't really what you asked about, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    the first of the two numbers in the heavy rating represents the minimum required str, you suffer a -2 penalty to hit and defense for each point you fail by (max -4 at which point you cant use it as all.)
    If e.g. someone whose Strength is less than 3 can still use a weapon, then Strength 3 isn't the minimum strength required to use that weapon. If I understand you correctly (Perhaps I've misread the above?) a weapon's "minimum required strength" is its literal minimum required Strength plus 2. Why on Earth would you do that? Unless it's just to troll for the lulz, in which case well played, you got me.

    'Cuz that part strikes me as more needlessly confusing than anything else you mentioned.
    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    Abstract positioning, either fully "position doesn't matter" or "zones" or whatever, is fine. If the rules reflect that. Exact positioning, with a visual representation, is fine. But "exact positioning theoretically exists, and the rules interact with it, but it only exists in the GM's head and is communicated to the players a bit at a time" sucks for anything even a little complex. And I say this from a GM POV.

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    Default Re: Is it logical

    a sword with a heavy of 3/4 needs strength 3 to use without penalty and 4 to use if they want to benefit from a dex of 4 or higher.
    A character with a strength of 2 can pick up the weapon and fight with it they just take a -2 penalty to hit and defense because it is to heavy to use. Its a d20 system with fairly low numbers a -2 is pretty significant.

    I put set the heavy rating for no penalty as the default because nobody has every been willing to soak up such a large penalty to hit and defense for so small a gain on a regular basis. But say if a player wanted to pick up a pick axe to finish off an immobilized rock monster I have rules for that, if they are one or two shy they can do it with increasing penalties and if they are three shy they cant use it at all. This would also come up if they wanted to say try and hack through a door with a wood axe.

    I put down the numbers that players would be using 99.99% of the time but have a rule for the outliers. When a player shows up with a primary weapon heavy enough to penalize them I typically assume they have made a mistake because it would be an objectively sub-optimal choice in almost every occasion.
    Last edited by awa; 2023-09-18 at 09:47 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Default Bad game terminology is still bad and we should stop using it.

    I just hope that you didn't literally name a value "minimum required strength" when that's very much not what it actually is. It may make sense to note that particular number, but use a term that accurately describes what you're talking about, you know?

    It is the opposite of helpful to define words and phrases against their already established normal usage. "An ogre isn't a humanoid, it's a giant." A giant is a just a big humanoid! If you want a word for the creatures affected by spells like charm person and dominate person, then how about, oh, I dunno, "person" maybe? Although you might want to think about what that's supposed to mean. What is this "creature type" supposed to represent; what's the difference between things that have this type and things that don't? And then ideally pick a word or words that already mean whatever it is! Failing that, make something up. Don't use words that already mean something else. That's bad! Stop doing it!

    >:(

    :P

    Like, I get that meaning is determined by context, but it's hard to escape the context of standard usage. So adding an additional conflicting context tends to create ambiguity. No sense doing that unnecessarily unless you're trying to confuse people, y'know?

    Given that the above is directed more at game writers in general than at you specifically, this is probably a poor place for it, but you set off a rant I've been sitting on.
    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    Abstract positioning, either fully "position doesn't matter" or "zones" or whatever, is fine. If the rules reflect that. Exact positioning, with a visual representation, is fine. But "exact positioning theoretically exists, and the rules interact with it, but it only exists in the GM's head and is communicated to the players a bit at a time" sucks for anything even a little complex. And I say this from a GM POV.

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