Monte on Logic in RPGs - Page 9





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  1. #81
    I agree with Monte, but I'd like to add that the argument about tight rules helping bad DMs do an OK job, is a theoretical one that I still haven't actually seen applied in practice.

    I think that tight rules don't help bad DMs, no more than loose rules do.

    Tight rules with a bad DM requires a lot of going through the books to find the relevant rule, then squibbling over the rules, then discussion of whether this text allows this action or not. It results in endless argument over DM interpretation instead of DM fiat.

    The players might say: if I know the rule, I can tell my DM. It's the same thing in a rules-loose game: if you have common sense on how to handle a situation, you can tell your DM. In both cases you need to argue your way to your point. In a rules-tight system, you continuously end up checking out the rules text, so you never run out of arguments (otherwise, it wouldn't be rules-tight, would it?).

    With a good DM, there is little argument going on, either in a rules-tight or a rules-loose game. With a bad DM, plenty of argument (or discontentment) in both systems too.

 

  • #82
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    Monte is my new RPG hero. He did leave out some middle ground though. I think a good way to present the rules is to say "here's one way to solve the problem" and make clear that that is not the only way to solve the problem. Tight rules sets are often interpreted as "this and only this is the way to solve the problem," eliminating creative solutions.

    RPG rules are one way to create a consensus on how the game operates, but there are others that are better in some ways. Simple agreed group consensus has already been mentioned.

    Mutual understanding of the in-game fiction is at least as important to the rules. Written game fiction (even if it's really bad) facilitates this, as does setting descriptions. Frex, in Shadowrun there's no actual rule that says that Mr. Johnson must screw over party. If you read a few stories or the in-book fiction it's pretty obvious that this is almost to be expected.

    Games based on established bodies of fiction are particularly good for this. If you're playing Wheel of Time, for instance, you know that Aes Sedai aren't going to be impeded by being out in freezing weather, even if the rules never specifically mention this. This is one of the reasons I liked AD&D. All the random stuff scattered through the DMG and Player's handbook (even the random prostitute table) led to a shared understanding of how the game universe worked through fiction even if they had no rules impact.

    I think that the type of game Monte is describing would be greatly aided by game-ficiton, including written stories and setting description.
    "Enough screwing around. It's time to kill."

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkyle View Post
    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.
    "GM May I" is and always has been a BS argument. Everything in an RPG is "GM may I." You can't get away from it. You can't swing on a chandelier until the GM tells you there's a chandelier. And he tells you it's in range. Even if the rules say you can do it, the chandelier might be broken or the chain weak.

    "GM may I" is synonymous with the flexibility that is the strength of RPGs. You can't have one without the other and trying to get away from it is pointless, even detrimental if you're sacrificing other aspects of play to try to reduce the power of the GM.
    "Enough screwing around. It's time to kill."

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkyle View Post
    That isn't a matter of game design or rules systems. And a DM basing his decisions on "logic" could very well say it doesn't work that way, simply because, in fact, not all itching agents can be removed with simple water.

    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.
    Tight rules sets create the expectation that everything is defined, hence anything not mentioned is not allowed. Frex, if orcs washed off itchy stuff thrown by the PCs, the players in a tight-rules game could reasonably be expected to cry foul, since that's not explicitly spelled out in the rules. This issue does come up in actual play.
    "Enough screwing around. It's time to kill."

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