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Dumbing Down RPG's

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This topic contains 23 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  ced1106 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #1391116

    onlyonepinman
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    10577xp

    Do complex rules make for better Role-play?  I don’t find that they do.  They perhaps make for more depth when it comes to combat but I don’t believe that combat is the be all and end all of an RPG.  Complexity in RPGS really comes, again, from the players and the GM and how they interact with one another.  The combat rules are nothing more than an abstraction, a way to determine who wins in any given fight.

    I don’t think d&d is a great system by any stretch of the imagination – mechanically, while its dice mechanics are relatively simple, it has things wrong with it in 5E that it has had since the very start in how it deals with combat and character progression.   But poor game mechanics don’t detract from the fun of the game because it’s not really the fighting that generates the fun, it’s the reasons why you are fighting – what did you do, as a player, to find yourself in the fight in the first place.  If all I wanted to do is have fights, I would just stick to Wargames.

    #1394570

    kiranamida
    Participant
    837xp

    You see, me and my group is completely the opposite.

    We trend to things like D&D 5e, Fate or Malifaux: Through the Breech that have a hard emphasis on “these are examples and here is also rules to make your own”. All of these systems have almost plug and play elements to their rules allowing you to invent your own little bits to stick into the existing framework.

    I find that a lot of examples of “wouldn’t it be more interesting if I could do X but I can’t” it tends to be a unimaginative GM/player group that’s preventing it from being so.

    Is it a problem that most of this is often hidden away in the secretive tome of the systems Game Master Guide? Yes, a poor editing choice on the part of many systems as it takes it away from the player in a way that just doesn’t make sense of you want to encourage it’s application.

    Besides, you can do an awful lot with the roleplay if you explore the why of your character is what they are. If all you want to do is rollplay then yeah: you’ll never get beyond the simplest application of the game’s numbers.

    If anything I would argue that the biggest weakness of modern RPGs is the tendency to take a good system and tie it to a specific setting/lore rather than the days of buying the smaller core rules at a lower cost and then choosing your source book like Modern D20 or Savage Worlds.

    #1394586

    limburger
    Participant
    7620xp

    @coxjul there is a definite difference in systems/settings that are better/more fun as a one-shot.
    At the very least there is a different progression through the story as you rarely worry about the aftermath in a one-shot session.

    And there are systems like Fiasco that can never ever be multi-session, because the scenaries tend to fall apart when you try to extend them.

    @kiranamida I disagree. The worst thing to happen in RPG’s is trying to fit a single set of rules to multiple systems, especially if they are thematically different.  The phrase “jack of all trades / master of none” comes to mind.
    D20/D&D is the one that made some of the worst mistakes by trying to force it into genres that simply didn’t match the intent of the system. The concept of classes and levels works in a high magic medieval fantasy themepark setting. It breaks down real fast in either horror or ‘realistic’ modern settings.
    At least I’ve got enough problems trying to explain why a 1st level character is terrified of combat with a goblin when x levels later he barely registers them as a threat. The less said about Call of Ctulluh D20 the better …

    The best games have mechanics that reinforce the theme/setting
    It’s why Call of Cthulluh has the sanity mechanic.

    #1394672

    bvandewalker
    Participant
    916xp

    @kiranamida the game master guide thing isn’t a an editing chose, it’s a marketing scheme designed to get more money out of the consumers and probably to keep the main need seller rule book costs down since it is awfully hard to justify paying $50-$100 for a rule book when one should be buying textbooks that cost same, (those thieves over in the textbook industry are true lords of darkness).

    #1395485

    kiranamida
    Participant
    837xp

    @limburger No, no. I actually agree with you on that point. D&D is a fantasy system and even arguably a low fantasy one at that, especially the way the magic system is proscribed to the spell slot system and how a character either knows a spell or doesn’t and that spell does just one thing. I was meaning more that you can run any similar fantasy system using the D&D system as it’s designed for that and still make it interesting with good storytelling.

    The full version of that phrase is “Jack of all trades but master of none, better than a master of one” which I sometimes think is a little idealistic. There is still an art in picking the correct system to run you own world in certainly and often times you do get the people trying to match systems that don’t have good mechanics to represent them (Ctulluh D20 being a prime example as you mentioned).

    I think the point I was trying to make actually sort of exists within the D&D family already with thinks like the SpellJammer and Dark Sun campaigns settings and how DMs can create their own versions of worlds within these frameworks. I completely agree that the mechanics should always support the fluff, not the other way around. I just mean that if you have supporting mechanics and you game is still boring, more complex mechanics aren’t going to fix that, better story telling and role playing is.

    #1395576

    limburger
    Participant
    7620xp

    @kiranamida :

    I’d say there is a feedback loop between mechanics and setting.
    The mechanics can help you get into the mood of a game.
    Although bad mechanics can pull you out of a game even faster …

    D&D itself is not low fantasy. Not even close. For low magic you need something like Warhammer Fantasy where the entire world and rules work against making magic users the glass cannons that they tend to be in D&D. The very existance of fireball and magic missile spells makes one wonder why armies field non magic users at all …

    Dark Albion is a background setting that shows how much effort is needed to make a functional low level magic setting by practically removing all flashy spells.

     

    #1395734

    kiranamida
    Participant
    837xp

    @limburger

    You see, I would have called D&D low fantasy simply because it’s magic system is less Lord of the Rings unknowable mystery and more Harry Potter magic words make things happen but that is a old discussion that always seems to have as many opinions as people offering them so I shalln’t start down that slope here. 😛

    Hmm… Dark Albion you say? Excuse me, I’m off down the rabbit hole. Always good to have more points to reference.

    #1395735

    limburger
    Participant
    7620xp

    @kiranamida the name you’re looking for is ‘Vancian magic’ as it is based on the magic used in novels like ‘Eyes of the overworld’ by Jack Vance
    I think people have been complaining & replacing the D&D magic system since it was created.

    Full title “Dark Albion: the Rose war”

    http://www.dcrouzet.net/heroes-witchery/?page_id=206

    https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product_info.php?src=2077&products_id=152423

    And related : “Lion & Dragon”

    https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/226022/Lion–Dragon

    #1396172

    ced1106
    Participant
    1735xp

    RPG.net is a better place to discuss this. They talk about RPG game design all the time, and can make suggestions for light RPG’s.

    I tried out One-Shot DungeonWorld. Designed for single-sessions, and minimal complexity.
    https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/242339/One-Shot-World-Beta

    If you can reign in silly play, “I Roll to See if I have Shoes on” doesn’t even have chargen.
    http://story-games.com/forums/discussion/11348/microdungeons-i-roll-to-see-if-i-have-shoes-on

    OTOH, If your group wants complexity, you’re stuck.

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