Thread: Monte on Logic in RPGs
Wednesday, 6th June, 2012, 08:41 PM #51
Scout (Lvl 6)
- Join Date
- Jul 2004
- Columbia, Maryland
ř Ignore Corathon
I agree with Monte on this one.
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Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
- North Germany
ř Ignore 1of3
I'm very disappointed, having read that article.
Monte completely ignores the fact that fiction is not related to mechanis, except when they are. Therefore anything can happen in the fiction, with very little happening in the mechanics.
The main assumption of this essay is unfounded: tight-rules systems in no way prevent DMs making rulings, or relying on logic.
If the rules say "It takes 2 turns and a roll to clean off the itchy powder", there is absolutely nothing preventing the DM from deviating from that rule and saying "OK, jumping in water does it immediately", or "using your canteen auto-succeeds the roll". The rule can only help. It can only give the DM and players a baseline expectation. Saying "you've got itchy powder on you", and that's all, is not any kind of improvement. It can only make the GM's job harder.
Now, that doesn't mean you need fiddly rules for everything. A game system can be generic. For example, in Strands of Fate, that itchy powder would just be an aspect applied by a maneuver. It would have clear mechanics to it. They'd just be mechanics that also apply to lots of other things.
Also, the section on "GM may I?" dodges the issue. There is no real difference between "May I do X" and "Does it seem possible for my character to do X". If the answer to the question is based on GM "logic" and fiat, and not on game mechanics, then it is asking the GM for permission, either way.
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
And then some GMs ,may say jumping into the water isn't in the rules so it won't work that way.
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The thesis of the article is that rules somehow limit DMs and players from doing what they want to do. They do not. Rules can never limit a DM. They can never limit what the DM allows their players to do. The rules can only define what the players can expect to be able to do without asking for case-by-case permission. Rules give options. They never take them away.
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
ř Ignore Crazy Jerome
Some players, and even some GMs, hide behind rules. The article doesn't really address that problem, and I'm not sure it should try, given the topic. The advice of how to do things is different from the advice on "stop hiding behind stuff," and the latter isn't really part of the rules at all.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
ř Ignore thewok
Magsman (Lvl 14)
- Join Date
- Jul 2002
- Atlanta, GA
ř Ignore Stalker0
To me, computer games have taken the debate out of this topic.
When it comes to tight, clearcut rulesets...you can't beat Computer Games and MMOS.
The only real place that RPGs have left to compete is around the DM. The interaction between DM and player is really the core of Pen and Paper, and its the one thing no computer game has come close to mirroring.
So I agree with Monte, successful modern gaming systems need to pull away from rules and more towards freeform interaction.
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I'm still not clear on how tight, clean, clear rulesets in any way detract from the interaction between DM and player.The only real place that RPGs have left to compete is around the DM. The interaction between DM and player is really the core of Pen and Paper, and its the one thing no computer game has come close to mirroring.
Having a DM around just means you've got your own personal content designer and game-system bug-fixer. Good rules make for better games, no matter the medium.
Freeform interaction is neither a "game" nor a "system". It is tangential to the rules. Rules can never reduce it unless the DM and players allow them to.So I agree with Monte, successful modern gaming systems need to pull away from rules and more towards freeform interaction.
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