The Id DM Interviews Monte Cook





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    The Id DM Interviews Monte Cook

    The Id DM has interviewed Monte Cook (one of the l ead designers of D&D 3E, and until recently - until he left for reasons mysterious and unknown and thus inviting of speculation - of D&D Next, on the RPG industry, his thoughts on rules systems, and his evolotion as a game designer. Read it here.
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    The Id DM Interviews Monte Cook

    Interesting interview of Monte Cook on The Id DM Michael's blog -

    Ego Check: Monte Cook, Game Designer & Author | The Id DM
    Last edited by Mark CMG; Saturday, 16th June, 2012 at 12:00 AM.
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    It's interesting that system mastery keeps coming up.

    I think there is some benefit to system mastery, but I don't think Monte is explaining it very well.

    I see it at its best in games like chess. "Out of the box", everyone has the same number of pieces, the pieces are fixed, and yet each piece has own ability. The big difference often comes in the experience of the players. Long-time players have developed strategies and know how to use the board pieces to great effect. They know that losing a pawn is a minor problem compared to the loss of a queen.

    It's not a case of "pawns suck, queens rule" and you need to change the game rules so that all the pieces are pawns (or mid-range rooks/bishops) - or god forbid, every piece is a queen*. So long as a player is playing with all the pieces, the game's fine as it is. And you should be able to play Archon or Nightmare chess without other people giving you the evil eye.

    * Also, when comparing to D&D, it's better if each class represents a mix of all the pieces, not one specific piece; look at the entire side, instead of one single figure on that side (i.e., fighter ≠ pawn, wizard ≠ queen, but perhaps in certain edition's fighter = 16 pawns, wizard = 16 queens). The chess anology works best if each player is playing either white or black, not pawn, rook, knight, bishop or queen as their only piece. You start doing the latter, and the whole game falls apart.

    ---------

    TL; DR - some system mastery is okay, so long as it's about using what you have and not screwing with what you have.
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    It's an interesting read, though I want to point out it's not Matt James' blog

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmillan View Post
    It's an interesting read, though I want to point out it's not Matt James' blog

    Thank you. My bad. He pointed it out on FB and I thought it was his blog. I'll fix that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormonu View Post
    And you should be able to play Archon or Nightmare chess without other people giving you the evil eye.
    Not really relevant to the topic at hand, but Knightmare Chess is awesome!

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    It is an interesting read. And really, it makes me wonder all the more why Monte left WotC becuase what he says his goals have evolved into seems to align precisely with what 5e is supposed to be all about.

    One thing that caught my eye though was his emphasis on intuative rules. Personally I want a game to give me evocative rules. I want the rules to help conjure the world of the game into my head. I want to read and be inspired.
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    Wow, so minimizing system mastery produces a game where "there’s no chance that you can lose"? Sounds like a bit of a straw man, to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andor View Post
    It is an interesting read. And really, it makes me wonder all the more why Monte left WotC becuase what he says his goals have evolved into seems to align precisely with what 5e is supposed to be all about.
    From both that and the Mike Mearls AMA, it sounds as if it was what they said it was - more about work styles and agreements than subject matter or personality differences.

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    I suppose that rust monsters and bookworms count as punishing, as whether they affect a character or not depends upon that character's class.

    Regarding system mastery, studying rules in depth is an activity that many rpg-ers enjoy for its own sake. They just like rules. Rewards of system mastery can come in different forms such as being recognised as a rules guru by one's peers, or having a more powerful player character and thus more authority over the game than the other players.

    A system master may not necessarily use his knowledge to create a more powerful character - I've often restrained myself playing Champions, regarding many possibilities allowed by the rules as either illegitimate, going too far, not being in genre, or otherwise unfun.

    One method I've seen employed to stop varying levels of system mastery leading to PC power imbalance is for one participant - either the GM, or the group's 'rules guru' - to create all the PCs, or at least their mechanical elements.

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