Hackmaster Will Next be able to do HackMaster? - Page 3




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  1. #21
    @Doug McCrae and @Umbran

    There's a big difference between compartmentalized advice and a narrative.

    Narratives are very efficient in getting across information, but at the cost of implying that the way it describes is the right and true way, and the others are badwrongfun. You "cut corners" by using moralistic and sort of inspiring language, right.

    The HM style is a narrative. It DOES imply that it's the One True Way to run an RPG. It's very high level stuff about the DM being responsible for fortifying the boundary between them and the players, "defending his honor" and stuff like this.

    If you give a newbie this narrative, there's no way they're going to allow a player to start narrating that they're going to get hit with an arrow around the next corner but it won't kill them and then they'll find a treasure parcel. The 4e text presents this as an epiphany about the "true nature" of D&D as a cooperative storytelling game.

    It's really difficult to have two different narratives in one book without the book as a whole having a schizophrenic feel to it. You can write advice, but then that doesn't have the power and efficiency of a narrative.

    I doubt that the author of the 5e DMG is going to try to present different playstyles at this level of abstraction. I think they're going to bite the bullet and present a pretty unified take of what sort of game D&D is.

    You can see this already in the PAX East video, Jeremy Crawford mentioned "High Fantasy" a few times, which is a pretty significant narrowing of the field, if he meant anything at all by that. The AD&D DMG by contrast specifically says that "sword & sorcery" fantasy is what the game is about.

    I mean it would be possible to write an essay at the beginning of the DMG about the differences between high fantasy and sword & sorcery fantasy, but how much space do they actually have for stuff like this?

    I'm just amusing myself thinking about how difficult writing a truly comprehensive Next DMG could be if they don't narrow the field significantly.

    Here's another HackMaster passage:

    "Now there are those who hold up role-playing games as some sort of artsy fartsy mystical new age tool. Yeah, they are out there and it is best you leave such theatre and art school dropouts to their own devices. They do not seem to cotton to our way of gaming and to be honest we like it that way. If they were any good they would not be sitting around trying to modify an already perfect game with their weak-ass theatrics. They would be in a movie or on Broadway. So leave them out of it until such time as they can grow up and face reality."

 

  • #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Ratskinner View Post
    Y'know, as a fan of those cooperative storytelling indie games....I never got that feel from 4e. I mean to the point of total bafflement when people "accuse" 4e of having it. Personally, having played and run both 4e and those indie games...its just a world of difference. Granted 4e seems to avoid the "mother may I" pattern/feel of earlier editions of DnD, but that's a far cry from things like Capes! or Universalis or even FATE, really.
    not even in Skill Challenges?
    Quote Originally Posted by GnomeWorks View Post
    To me, this feels like asking if DDN should support the FATAL-style of gaming (of which I am, and hopefully forever shall be, gleefully ignorant).

    For which the answer is: no. It shouldn't. It's not D&D.

    HM may have had its roots in D&D, but D&D it is not. There is no more reason to support - or even consider - HM than there is to support or consider FATAL.
    The HackMaster style is definitely within the D&D umbrella, whether you want it to be or not. It's on the fringe, but it's in there.

  • #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libramarian View Post
    It's really difficult to have two different narratives in one book without the book as a whole having a schizophrenic feel to it. You can write advice, but then that doesn't have the power and efficiency of a narrative.
    D&DNext is intended to support multiple playstyles, so the narrative approach wouldn't be appropriate. Power and efficiency are, in this case, negative traits.

    Narratives definitely have their place, but they're best for small, focused rpgs, such as Dogs in the Vineyard, which is unashamedly OneTrueWayist, and says so. It seems WotC are coming to accept that D&D is a broad church, and always has been, at least in terms of what groups have been doing with it, even if the game text didn't always envision those uses.
    Last edited by Doug McCrae; Sunday, 15th April, 2012 at 12:31 AM.

  • #24
    No game that has specifically said that "they want to put the power back in the hands of the DM" (paraphrase) is going to include a line about letting the player decide whether there's a trap in the next room.

    Somebody at WotC clearly thinks 4e (and maybe even 3e) went too far in encouraging players' control of the game. Maybe it's Monte - remember his "what have we done" remark?
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  • #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libramarian View Post
    Narratives are very efficient in getting across information, but at the cost of implying that the way it describes is the right and true way, and the others are badwrongfun.
    What? No. I don't agree at all. Or maybe we just think about "narrative" differnetly.

    But, to me, what you seem to imply is that... say, a noir gumshoe novel must try to claim that it is objectively better than Tolkien fantasy, and that Tolkien isn't "real" fiction, or somesuch. And it doesn't. It just has to claim that, at the moment, it is trying to be noir gumshoe novel. It has to claim that you might, for the moment, want to do one thing instead of another. But that's just for the moment, right now. It makes no claims on what you'll read tomorrow night.

    Any author who goes beyond that's a bit daft.

    It's really difficult to have two different narratives in one book without the book as a whole having a schizophrenic feel to it.
    So, you have another book that presents other ways of doing things! Big whoop. You know, like how Jim Butcher can present you with Dresden Files in one book, and then in the back advertise and give you a taste of his epic fantasy series.

    Folks sometimes speak as if there's some need to get a newbie EVERYTHING about gaming all at once, in their first dose. I think quite the opposite. People are flexible, and can learn over time. The players will not be ruined if you just give them one thing to start with, and show them other possibilities later.
    Last edited by Umbran; Sunday, 15th April, 2012 at 01:56 AM.

  • #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libramarian View Post
    not even in Skill Challenges?
    Nope.

    The way I see it, 4e skill challenges gave players more latitude in determining how they met their challenges, but not what those challenges were or even what consequences were at stake. Even so, its more the fact that that latitude was explicitly stated and encouraged, rather than it being some shocking new innovation. 3e mentioned that you could swap which ability score was used for skills in original ways, but didn't give instructions as to why/how you might do that (IIRC). Lenient DMs had broad leeway in earlier editions (often due to a lack of rules).

    In many of those Indie-Narrative games, players can actually state or present challenges/conflicts to the group or even make declarations that can redirect the storyline. One FATE-based game I have has an example where a player uses a FATE point to declare that she recognizes her pursuer as an employee of a long-time enemy. In Universalis, players could invent new races or alter the way magic works or change the geopolitics of the entire gameworld or retroactively create history. In Capes, a player could put down a goal "Cast Fireball" which would prevent anyone from casting Fireball until control of that goal had mechanically resolved. That's just not something that 4e skill challenges can do.

    The deep end of the Indie-Narrative pool is a long way from any edition of D&D. 4e Skill challenges aren't even dipping 4e's toes in the shallow end. 4e did put a little more "power" into the players hands, but it really doesn't amount to making it a narrative game. The DM still calls the plays, the players just get to pick fancier TD celebrations.

  • #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libramarian View Post
    The HackMaster style is definitely within the D&D umbrella, whether you want it to be or not. It's on the fringe, but it's in there.
    There are dozens of games with their roots firmly planted in D&D. Should we incorporate their takes on gaming, as well?

    HM is a parody. I don't think it's reasonable to take a parody's stance on anything seriously.

    And even if you want to move away from that, and take its base gaming philosophy... I spent a decent amount of time playing HM. I found its rhetoric to be hateful and vitriolic and its mechanics a clumsy mishmash of ideas. It sows distrust between players and the DM and encourages DMs to be actively antagonistic toward players.

    Sorry, but I don't think encouraging that view of gaming is healthy.
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  • #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    What? No. I don't agree at all. Or maybe we just think about "narrative" differnetly.

    But, to me, what you seem to imply is that... say, a noir gumshoe novel must try to claim that it is objectively better than Tolkien fantasy, and that Tolkien isn't "real" fiction, or somesuch. And it doesn't. It just has to claim that, at the moment, it is trying to be noir gumshoe novel. It has to claim that you might, for the moment, want to do one thing instead of another. But that's just for the moment, right now. It makes no claims on what you'll read tomorrow night.

    Any author who goes beyond that's a bit daft.
    I mean a narrative as a background story that organizes and extends bits of particular advice.

    I find the idea of a HM GM clear and vivid. Once I have that image I don't need particular advice for every situation, because I can just ask myself: what would a HM GM do? I can go into "HM mode". You know what I mean? Whereas if I don't have that clear unifying image then I need itty bitty if-then advice for everything.

    I should probably say "philosophy" rather than narrative. That's what I mean.
    So, you have another book that presents other ways of doing things! Big whoop. You know, like how Jim Butcher can present you with Dresden Files in one book, and then in the back advertise and give you a taste of his epic fantasy series.

    Folks sometimes speak as if there's some need to get a newbie EVERYTHING about gaming all at once, in their first dose. I think quite the opposite. People are flexible, and can learn over time. The players will not be ruined if you just give them one thing to start with, and show them other possibilities later.
    I don't necessarily disagree. In fact I would lean toward this. Don't be too wishywashy with the DMG 1 advice text, so maybe you can say--see the DMG 2 for a different approach.

    I haven't actually read the DMG2 for either 3e or 4e so I don't know what that book generally takes itself to be about -- whether it presents alternatives to the DMG 1 stuff or basically just picks up where the DMG 1 left off.
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug McCrae View Post
    D&DNext is intended to support multiple playstyles, so the narrative approach wouldn't be appropriate. Power and efficiency are, in this case, negative traits.

    Narratives definitely have their place, but they're best for small, focused rpgs, such as Dogs in the Vineyard, which is unashamedly OneTrueWayist, and says so. It seems WotC are coming to accept that D&D is a broad church, and always has been, at least in terms of what groups have been doing with it, even if the game text didn't always envision those uses.
    Yes, this is what I mean. I wonder -- what if you had smaller sized DMGs, written by different authors, which would allow each to take a more One True Wayist tack with its DMing philosophy.

    I must say, I would be very intrigued by a sort of alternative DMG written by Vincent Baker.

    You would have to load as much of the necessary system mechanics stuff into the PHB and MM as possible though.

  • #29
    Quote Originally Posted by GnomeWorks View Post
    There are dozens of games with their roots firmly planted in D&D. Should we incorporate their takes on gaming, as well?

    HM is a parody. I don't think it's reasonable to take a parody's stance on anything seriously.

    And even if you want to move away from that, and take its base gaming philosophy... I spent a decent amount of time playing HM. I found its rhetoric to be hateful and vitriolic and its mechanics a clumsy mishmash of ideas. It sows distrust between players and the DM and encourages DMs to be actively antagonistic toward players.

    Sorry, but I don't think encouraging that view of gaming is healthy.
    Like literally psychologically unhealthy or just a poor fit for RPGing?
    Because...there are a lot of games that encourage active antagonism and even sow distrust among players, without being known for damaging the psychological health of the participants. Like chess or poker. Or football.

    I'd be down for playing a semi-serious HM game. But then part of what interests me about these D&D Next discussions and the prospect of Next itself if that I would have the opportunity to broaden my D&D horizons.

  • #30
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    What I don't understand is why anyone would want to "Do HackMaster" by playing another system...

    HackMaster is a perfectly excellent game.

    HM4 has plenty of awards and it has lots of fans who play it the way it was written and they actually have FUN doing it!

    And the new version of HackMaster is even better, IMO...

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