"Busywork" in RPG's... - Page 4

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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalker0
    The fly rules are bloated and difficult to run. Unless you have perfect fly, its a whole lot of numbers and mini work to run the scenario correctly.
    There should be 3 categories.

    Crappy: Has to spend a standard action each round to fly.
    Average: Has to spend a move action each round to fly (movement is part of this action).
    Perfect: As standard rules.


  • #32
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    One problem from a designers aspect is that, in RPGs, the busywork (by the article's definition) varies from person to person and group to group.

    Look at the original example, character generation. As can be seen here, many consider it a chore. For many it's their favorite part of the game. For some DMs it can be both.

    Another example is buying equipment. Some DMs and players love that part as character interaction and insist on roleplaying it out every time. Some love it at the lowest levels, but skip the details at the highest levels. Some prefer to skip the details all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Randall
    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).
    Here is another example of the two-edged sword. For me, the reality of these things affecting the game is fun. The drudgery of tracking them, isn't usually.

    I can't wait for the day when electronics can be integrated into the game seemlessly. The game will come with an electronic character sheet that tracks some details (like treasure) instantly and quickly, so I don't have to deal with it.
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  • #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzz
    Monte Cook outlined a sorta similar way to wing NPCs in a Dungeoncraft article a few months back.

    Thing is, this kind of process isn't what the rules say. It only comes with experience and a little math-fu. The simple fact that you felt it necessary and beneficial to do this says to me, "D&D could be made better by giving DMs a faster way to make NPCs."
    I agree on all counts, Buzz. In my experience, the complexity of high-lvl NPC generation is a problem that makes the game simply less fun for the DM.

    Incidentally, it was that Dungeoncraft article that finally made me jump into "on the fly" NPC generation with both feet, and I haven't regretted it once. It's made game prep a lot more fun for me.
    - Piratecat, EN World Admin. Now writing TimeWatch, an investigative time travel game.

  • #34
    The Dungeoncraft article uses a "fighter attack bonus is function of level" trick IIRC. Hmmm...where have I seen that before. Oh yea! Character classes! Seriously though, feats have really taken away alot of the advantage of character classes in the design. I always thought that the whole point of having a character class what that it represented an optimal build for that archetype. It would be fine if feats just provided enhanced flexibility, but many of them just pile on bonuses as well.

    A good character class system would accomplish what the Dungeoncraft article was trying to.

    Seems to me to that IRL fighters never really "choose their feats" anyway. Weapons and styles are dictated by what their culture and trainers tell them is an "optimal build". This whole idea that a player just wades around in some stack of rule books and gets to pick what their character does seems to suggest that no one ever is trained or given advice on anything.

    Also, I vote to get rid of int bonuses to skill points by level. That makes it harder to adjust the intelligence score of a 19th level NPC without it having a huge effect on skills, which is very time consuming. And considering the number of skills that aren't really intelligence based, it doesn't really make a lot of sense.

    And while I'm at it, tone down the magic items. They're mostly just gratuitous bonuses. And also...

  • #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Morris
    Interesting article today on, of all places, Magic's website..


    (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.

    Well, a portion of character creation is considerd "busywork" as defined by the aforementioned linked article. But how much freedom to create a distinct, personalized character (PC or NPC) must be sacrificed for the sake of getting back time-loss?

    I do admit that NPC generation is most time-consuming, unless you develop a habit of recycling dead characters. Still, how useful it is to offer stats for low-, medium-, high-, and epic-level "vanilla" characters of every makes (creature) and models (classes both single and multi)?
    Anyhoo, just some random thoughts...

    My philosophy is "you don't need me to tell you how to play -- I'll just provide some rules and ideas to use and get out of your way."
    --Monte Cook

    Min/Maxing and munchkinism aren't problems with the game; they're problems with the players.
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  • #36
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    You know, what is termed "busywork" in one RPG system won't apply to another. Asa case in point, when I ran my d6 Space campaign six months ago, there was very little "busywork" involved - statting up NPCs, creating adventures, and the like often took my only ten minutes, compared to the hour or so it might take me for D&D (I'm of the "wing it" school).

    Of course, the "busywork" of d6 was in an entirely different place - adding up rolls. But that's another story.

    All that being said, I switched *back* to D&D, so I don't think you can say that "busywork = less fun". But I think you *can* say that when the time spent on Busywork is roughly equal to the time of active play, you might have a problem. It's why, for example, we stopped playing Shadowrun - no one could really keep track of the rules (it's tough for us) and we spent so much time referencing the rules.
    Wik: Solving internet arguments since 1983.

  • #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Randall
    I still don't think N/PC generation can be called busywork. It's essential to the game, and therefor not something that could be skipped or dropped in the interest of speed.
    What about pregenerated characters?

    Creating characters and NPCs is 'busywork' as defined in the article as well as the other definition provided.

  • #38
    The busywork in D&D for me comes in 3 forms: magic (spells & items), feats & skills. Each is a nice feature of the game individually. Together, they make it unwieldy. Add in hit points for extra busywork fun and bookkeeping, and I think it's why I prefer Savage Worlds now.

  • #39
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    I've always thought busywork meant doing something just to eat up time. So, in that vein, I'd say, NWN2.

    I get the gist of the OP and the article, though (not sure what the correct term is for work that takes too long). I hate making maps. Even with map making programs, not much fun and takes too long considering the PCs don't often see or use them much. I especially dislike dungeons and urban maps. Overland/rural maps are not so bad.
    Last edited by Agamon; Tuesday, 28th November, 2006 at 01:08 AM.

  • #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glyfair
    One problem from a designers aspect is that, in RPGs, the busywork (by the article's definition) varies from person to person and group to group.
    True, but I have to believe that there's some defining point between taste and functionality. I mean, no matter how much patience one has for detail, FASA Dr. Who just plain sucks. I.e., a difference between detail and needless effort.
    ENWorld Chicago Gameday: Getting people together to game since 2001.

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