D&D 5th Edition With Respect to the Door and Expectations....The REAL Reason 5e Can't Unite the Base - Page 110




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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    Many people give out "quest XP" or "roleplaying XP" rather than "encounter XP" or "treasure XP".
    For me, it depends what system I am playing.

    In classic D&D, I give out XP as per the XP rules: monsters and treasure.

    In 4e, I give out XP as per the XP rules: encounters (both combat and non-combat), "roleplaying" (as per the DMG 2, one monster's worth for every 15 minutes of free roleplaying that drives the game forward), and quests.

    In Rolemaster, I started out using the RM rules - where XP are awarded for a range of activities that could be described as "hard training in the field" - but then moved to a variant of goal-based XP based on HARP's XP rules.

    I would expect D&Dnext to have XP options reflecting a range of traditional approaches, both simulationist (RM, and to some extent 2nd ed AD&D, I think) and metagame (classic D&D, 4e, and HARP). And when it comes to metagame XP, I would expect a variety of metagame options to be canvassed, given the very different metagame rationales behind (for example) classic D&D and 4e.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    HP is really ingrained into how we think about rpgs.
    Who is "we" in this sentence? Here are some well-known RPGs that don't use D&D-style hit points:

    Tunnels and Trolls: damage is rated numerically, and comes directly off CON;

    Rolemaster/MERP/HARP: damage is rated in concussion hits, which are "meat" (bruising and blood loss), and in numerical penalties (eg -10 to all actions) and disabilities (eg blinded) of various sorts;

    RuneQuest: damage is rated numerically, comes of hit points, which are "meat", and hit point loss leads to both numerical penalties and disabilities (eg maimed) of various sorts;

    Burning Wheel: damage is rated on a scale, and the scale determines a numerical penalty (eg -1D to all actions) which in turn, as part of the healng mechanics, can lead to disabilities (eg maimed) of various sorts;

    Traveller: damage is rated numerically, and comes directly off physical stats.

    Hit points are not at all ingrained in how I think about RPGs. In fact, I see them as pretty distinctive to D&D.

 

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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Who is "we" in this sentence?
    Me, and the other posters who indicated they couldn't imagine D&D without hit points

    Here are some well-known RPGs that don't use D&D-style hit points:
    I would debate that any of those, or any non-D&D rpg is "well-known", or has a comparable influence in how rpg players think about game design.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostSoul View Post
    After playing with this guy for a while, I think he went back to "I attack the gnoll" instead of more detailed actions because he didn't want the responsibility to narrate what was going on. He wanted to make a simple choice - "I attack the gnoll" - and then have the DM describe his character's actions.

    I think this creates a reward system for a certain type of "Right to Dream" play. You make a character, but you don't want to have to risk that character's integrity by possibly screwing up with your choices - you want your choices to be low-stress. You pass the ball to the DM, and a good DM will "get it right" and describe your character in the "right" way - passing the ball back to you. Then you express your character well enough for the DM to pick up on what your PC's about, and round and round it goes.

    That's what I see as the main benefit to associated mechanics: you aren't forced to create compelling fiction moment-to-moment during play. The mechanics do that for you.
    After some of the other replies to your post, I've been thinking about this some more.

    Rolemaster, RuneQuest and other purist-for-system mechanics presumably count as "associated" - they are definitely not metagame - but they don't have this feature. There is no "low stress" option in Rolemaster, for example - you have to choose a split between attack and defence every round - and in Runequest you don't have to choose, but every round is a gamble on your parry working or not.

    So do you think the phenomenon that you describe is a combination of "association" plus a high level of abstraction? Which perhaps correlates to @Crazy Jerome's "comfortable slippers" metaphor?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    Me, and the other posters who indicated they couldn't imagine D&D without hit points
    Hit points are ingrained in how I think about D&D, sure. But thinking about D&D doesn't exhaust my thinking about RPGs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    I would debate that any of those, or any non-D&D rpg is "well-known", or has a comparable influence in how rpg players think about game design.
    Traveller probably remains the best selling and most influential of all sci-fi RPGs.

    RuneQuest is one of the three most influential RPGs of all time (D&D and Champions being the other two).

    Tunnels & Trolls was, at one time (late 70s) a signicant rival to D&D - enough to seriously irritate Gygax. And during the 80s, ICE (publisher of Rolemaster and MERP) was the second-biggest RPG company after TSR, on the strength of its Middle Earth licence.

    And Burning Wheel is, I would guess, the best-known of contemporary indie fantasy RPGs.

    Whether or not these games influence how players think about game design, I can guarantee that they all influence how RPG designers think about game design. (Monte Cook, for example, and just to give one well-known example, first entered the industry as a designer for Rolemaster.)

    If these games aren't allowed to count, then I guess hit points are inherent to RPGs. But I hadn't realised that "is inherent to RPGs" is to be treated as equivalent to "is inherent to D&D" on the grounds that no other RPGs count!

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    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    Maybe the problem is because you don't listen to anybody. I said the dissociation problem is much reduced because it fits with something that makes sense from a PC POV. Yet there you are telling me I said something else. I know what I said and I know why I said it.

    And the reason you can't do both (stabbing really hard and tripping them) is because you're not skilled enough as a 1st level fighter yet. Try again at 5th level when you can manage more special tricks at one time. It's not much of a stretch to recognize that not all lesser skilled characters can do all the things a seasoned warrior can.
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Maybe the reason you can't do Rain of Blows more than once per encounter is that you're not skilled enough yet.
    Pretty much what Pemerton said. The only difference between Combat Superiority and Daily Martials in terms of dissociation is that you, Bill91, choose an interpretation that makes sense to you. There's no actual difference between the two otherwise, other than one came out of a 4e book.

    Which seems to be the basic message of this entire line of discussion. A dissociated mechanic is only a bad thing if it came from 4e. Otherwise, we'll bend over backwards to do any mental gymnastics required to make this mechanic (whatever it is) acceptable to us. It's unbelievable.
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    So much for uniting the base. Honestly, we accept hit points and many peculiar mechanics mostly due to tradition. Disassociation is being wielded like a bludgeon; such a highly subjective concept bandied about as a solid basis for core rules. People are going to have to compromise, but they won't, oh no, you see, I'm right, okay, no really, you don't understand anything about anything...

    I am part of the small crew here reserving judgment. There is a long way to go and a lot of feedback to be incorporated before the final result is in. Can we all just get along? Naaaa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Balesir View Post
    The root of the problem, it seems to me, is that what I see in my head I find believable, but others with different "world models" seeing the exact same detail might find it entirely unbelievable. The same effect means that if I, as GM, start rewarding players for doing something "believably smart", all I am really doing is rewarding them for having the same world-physics model as me. I don't (any longer) find this satisfying.

    Which is fine as long as all the players see the detailed fictional positioning having an effect on resolution that they see as being "believable". You form a group all self-congratulating each other for having the same world-model, much like parts of this thread (credit to JC for pointing that out!)
    Thanks for the insightful reply. I wanted to go into a little detail on these two quotes.

    I think you describe a very valid concern. It's hard to get everyone on the same page, and if someone has a privileged role in judgement that can spell problems. I've had my share of issues with this style of play in the past. However, that role can be powerful if used well.

    I think I (as DM here) don't have many problems with fictional positioning influencing mechanical resolution because I take the view that we're all in this game together. I rarely say "No" flat-out; usually it's "I can't see that working; help me out here." When it comes to modifiers, I prefer to let the players add their own - because it's easier and I trust them - while everyone accepts the fact that I have final say.

    We also get up and physically act things out if they are confusing, so that helps.

    As for rewarding players for having the same world-physics model: I think that's true, but I think it's a powerful tool. It helps get people on the same page, imagining together. I also think that you have to be willing to give and change your perception of the world-physics model as either DM or player.

    I think this is similar to the "don't be a dick" rule, but maybe it's a little more... nuanced. I think the game should make it clear that everyone is working at the same goal - an enjoyable experience - and everyone should keep that in mind while filling their roles and responsibilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    So do you think the phenomenon that you describe is a combination of "association" plus a high level of abstraction? Which perhaps correlates to Crazy Jerome's "comfortable slippers" metaphor?
    I think so. It removes most of the high-stress situations, especially the socially high-stress situations. You're not worried about creating compelling fiction all the time.

    I wonder if DMs who take on that role (that is, the responsibility to describe the details of abstract actions in a compelling way) suffer more burnout than those who don't.
    "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostSoul View Post
    I think so. It removes most of the high-stress situations, especially the socially high-stress situations. You're not worried about creating compelling fiction all the time.

    I wonder if DMs who take on that role (that is, the responsibility to describe the details of abstract actions in a compelling way) suffer more burnout than those who don't.
    Speaking only for myself, that exact problem was a big contributor to my first spat of burnout as an almost all the time DM. This was a problem for me across systems. The way we gradually resolved it was that I put the onus back on the players, but one at a time. This is, for example, the genesis of my "make the players name all the minor NPCs" instead of always leaving myself with "the pressure of a name." (Chick-flick credit if you can name that allusion. )

    So initially, I'm not saying that every player in every action is producing BW-type compelling fiction. But we did gradually establish that responsibility for producing, well, "compelling color" for lack of a better phrase, would rotate amongst all the people at the table. If we have "compelling color", are joking around (in and out of character), having some fun scenes, roleplaying in and out of combat--then we get a bit of that "comfortable shoes" feeling, that often turns into something more--maybe not compelling fiction, but cheap read fantasy novel fiction. With all the other stuff packed in, that's often plenty going on.

    I'm not dramatic enough or fond of 1st person narrative to drive compelling fiction by myself, with the characters only reacting. It's burnout every time I try it.
    Last edited by Crazy Jerome; Wednesday, 29th August, 2012 at 03:18 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    As to the second point, I agree that it's important, but what do you say to people who play with vp/wp or one of the other variant systems (including some published in UA and the like)? Are they not really playing D&D? Even class and level, as deeply rooted as they are, are not inextricable, nor do I think that they will still be there in the same form if D&D survives another generation.
    D&D variants can do almost anything. If someone wants to take a D&D version and use any number of hit point replacements, that's a D&D variant. I suppose if varied enough, it becomes a lot less like "the heart of D&D" than it was. But if someone tries to produce something that is purportedly D&D--without hit points (and class and level), then something is seriously off. XP is a lesser version of the same pattern, since it's less important to the whole scheme of D&D.

    As for the rest, I'm disagreeing with your assessment of the centralness of hit points to the success and future success of D&D. If D&D survives, it will be because it kept hit points. All the 4E changes together are a drop in the bucket compared to what dropping hit points as the default health mechanism would do to the game. Obviously, we have very different views on this point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LostSoul View Post
    It removes most of the high-stress situations, especially the socially high-stress situations. You're not worried about creating compelling fiction all the time.

    I wonder if DMs who take on that role (that is, the responsibility to describe the details of abstract actions in a compelling way) suffer more burnout than those who don't.
    Very interesting.

    I suspect that my game is low on the sorts of descriptions of the shared fiction that you are talking about - maybe closer to @Balesir's, although it can be hard to get a sense of these things on a message board.

    But for "compelling fiction" (by which I mean something closer to @Crazy Jerome's "cheap novel") I have always relied on situation and stakes, with colour a contributor to that, but otherwise allowed to rise and fall as the mood takes the participants.

    In Rolemaster and 4e combat, the mechanics go quite a way to making some of the stakes (the tactical stakes, if you like) evident. But I also rely on the embedding of the combat into the broader narrative of the game. (Pause to reiterate: nothing very high brow about the narrative in my game - very familiar, even hackneyed, fantasy tropes.) And in non-combat, where in both games the resolution system is mechanically much more abstracted from the action, the fictional embedding is the overwhelming source of and signaller of stakes. I think (or at least I hope) my various actual play posts and examples help convey the sort of thing I'm talking about here.

    This is why the 4e DMG comment on the encounter with the gate guards didn't both me one bit - because it's advice I've been following for 20+ years of GMing in any event. I don't sweat over "mere colour" encounters (or "filler encounters" as they're often called when they involve combat): I like to handle these quickly and move on. And if an encounter with some guards evolves or escalates from mere colour to something more serious, I still won't be narrating the colour of their eyes or hair or cloaks, or (generally) putting on a distinctive voice. I'll be emphasising whatever it is that they're talking about that matters to the players, and establishes what is at stake that is making the encounter more than just a source of colour.

    Anyway, this approach to GMing (which I really started to work out with Oriental Adventures back in 1986-87), probably helps explain why I find 4e supports rather than hinders my immersion with and engagement with the game.

    It also means that, for me, the threat of burnout comes not from the pressure of keeping up the narration of colour, but rather from the pressure to keep up the framing and evolution of compelling situations. My first long-running RM campaign (1990-97) came to an ignoble end when even I, let alone the players, could no longer keep track of which NPC was doing what and why any of it mattered. Since then, though, I think I've become better at handling my side of things and keeping the players (via their PCs) fully engaged. Letting go a lot of (for my purposes) needless world building and associated world exposition/exploration has been one part of that.

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