"Busywork" in RPG's...


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  1. #1
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    "Busywork" in RPG's...

    Interesting article today on, of all places, Magic's website..

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/rg1

    (Not that their articles aren't always interesting, they just usually aren't relevant to RPG's). The article discusses the concept of 'busywork' and brings up the question - what parts of D&D do you consider the 'busywork'

    I think the biggest one for me is character generation. Anything to speed up this without cutting too many corners in character variety is welcome - indeed this is one of the reasons I don't allow non-core races and classes in my games.

    Thoughts?

 

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    Encumbrance other than by armor.

    Tracking things like food, water, torches once you are past the very low levels.

    Spell components, if your DM is a hard-ass and makes the PCs actually acquire them (instead of just assuming their availability).

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    NPC Generation (particularly high level) is one of the bits I hear most flags people's time.
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    I thought of some more:

    * Random treasure generation, especially of non-magical treaures.
    * Traps. Finding them, disabling them, or triggering them. (This is busywork because there is really no "skill" involved in the skill checks: they are all binary, fail/succeed, depending upon your total modifier in Search and Disable Device vs. the trap's DCs.)
    * Setting watches / getting enough rest so the spellcasters regain their spells. (Take a party of 4 PCs with 2 spellcasters, each of whom needs 8 hours of rest, and combine this with a desire that there be 2 people on watch at any one time. Ugh.)

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    ø Ignore Joshua Randall
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark CMG
    NPC Generation (particularly high level) is one of the bits I hear most flags people's time.
    It takes a lot of time, but is it really busywork?

    American Heritage Dictionary defines busywork as "Activity, such as schoolwork or office work, meant to take up time but not necessarily yield productive results." I'd argue that generating NPCs definitely yields a productive result, even if it does take a lot of time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Morris
    I think the biggest one for me is character generation.
    Wow, seriously? That has literally been my favorite part of RPGs since I was 12.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Randall
    I'd argue that generating NPCs definitely yields a productive result, even if it does take a lot of time.
    There is room for argument here... I say that in many instances it's wasted time, where the players slay the dude in just a couple of rounds (and he didn't use all his carefully determined feats, skills, etc.), or don't try to slay him, so stats are useless, or they didn't encounter him for whatever reason. But of course, stats can be reused.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Randall
    It takes a lot of time, but is it really busywork?

    American Heritage Dictionary defines busywork (. . .)

    . . .differently than I do and differently than the article defines it. You can do a lot of things that are productive that are still obstacles to getting at the fun, when it comes to gaming. Even if invested time yields a productive result, sometimes there are better ways to invest it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark CMG
    NPC Generation (particularly high level) is one of the bits I hear most flags people's time.
    I would agree. I may end up with an NPC to use but if it is a throw away encounter it is a boatload of work to get it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KB9JMQ
    I would agree. I may end up with an NPC to use but if it is a throw away encounter it is a boatload of work to get it.
    I agree. I like having a stack of level one to twenty stats available that can be plugged in and re-used with small adjustments. With these eConics, I just switch out a weapon type (perhaps changing only the base damage) or add a special magic item here and there, as needed for a scenario, and it is a lot less work. Some like to fudge the whole thing but I prefer having a firm set of stats as a base and only having to fudge in minor ways. My players prefer that, too.
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