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Friday, 27th July, 2012, 11:55 PM #161
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Saturday, 28th July, 2012, 12:08 AM #162
If the designers come up with the Best Mechanic Ever!! (tm) but it overlaps with an existing mechanic they had better look hard at how effective the existing mechanic works and if there's any way to slip the Best Mechanic Ever!! (tm) into the chassis of the old mechanic. Sometimes an old, weary mechanic does need to go away. Sometimes a new idea is better. But if the old idea works fine, or even just adequately, why change? Instead of trying to force the Best Mechanic Ever!! (tm) into the game and selling it to the consumer, spend the energy improving the old idea and making that work better.
It's a rationalization against change for change's sake and changing too much. There must be change. It's vital. But the change must be incremental and inarguably positive. The change should lead to something new which feels comfortable yet familiar. Like the new VW beetle. (What is it we me and car similes this week?)
For example, to-hit bonuses have been in the game, well, forever.
THAC0 is a huge part of the brand identity for 2e. Everyone who has been playing D&D for more than a year has likely heard some mutterings of "THAC0", which is a mechanic that has been gone for 12+ years. It was replaced by BAB which was replaced by 1/2 level.
Despite all the talk that 5e is nothing new and only nostalgia, there is the new idea of Bounded Accuracy. Which is a pretty darn big departure from every prior edition.
It's actually a nice evolution from 4e, where there was essentially bounded accuracy as to-hit bonuses increased with defences, so you always needed to roll the same number to hit when facing same level foes. This is just a simplification. A reduction of math and number creep.
Saturday, 28th July, 2012, 12:16 AM #163
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
But beyond that, even if I did agree that the gorge existed in a quantum state, it would then easily enough be said that every single aspect of the game exists in a quantum state (either as a superposition of states or "there" or "not there") prior to the moment of its actualization through force of creative will. You don't seem to have a problem with the proposed "quantum state" of every bit of the rest of the fiction...why is the gorge particularly troublesome? It manifests through the creative will of the one that endows it with "life" just as the gorge does.
As far as player agency goes, I used to be in agreement with you. I probably used to have the exact same tastes, preferences and positions as you. However, since then I've realized that there are truly different design spaces for roleplaying games in general and game mechanics in specific. And those rpgs and mechanics can provide different types of "player agency" through their aims and resolution. One form of "player agency" can be "I want to be be able to assume author stance and dictate the terms of the fiction and manifest something out of whole cloth to perpetuate my idea of interesting, dynamic content that supports or undermines my character." Or "binary results of checks and linear flow from the last check in the series to the resultant fiction narrows results so that they become cliche', trite and it does not allow me to actualize my idea of an interesting, dynamically framed scene where my heroic character is ensconced in high fantasy adventure." These are alternate forms of player agency. What's more, you can still maintain your form of agency outside of skill challenges. You can play 4e as fully simulationist (standard, binary checks that result in cause and effect coupled outcomes for rudimentary tasks + simulationist skinned combat) while still using Skill Challenges to close off a particular, high-pitched, tension-inducing scene (a rooftop chase through the city, a parlay with pirates, a high seas navigation of a rocky harbor into a cove through treacherous conditions) into an aggregation of "fiction first", decision-point-centric checks and resultant "micro-outcomes" that lead to further "fiction first", decision points that are all "trope/genre relevant"...and ultimately their aggregation dictates the resultant fiction...rather than a linear, simulationist flow of the last check in the series to the resultant fiction.
Saturday, 28th July, 2012, 12:23 AM #164
A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)
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The parent company was different, TSR vs WotC vs Hasbro, TSR and WotC were small companies founded by and employing enthusiasts, while Hasbro is a large mainstream corporation, so there's one candidate, but the folks actually working on D&D still seem to include some enthusiasts.
The degree of change was much less in the 1e/2e roll, but the 2e/3e and 3e/4e rolls were both pretty substantial changes, so that doesn't explain the difference in the reaction. Similarly, the changes in all three cases were positive, and responsive to well-known problems: 2e fixed known mistakes and issues in 1e, 3e finally did away with long-derided race/class level limits & multi-classing and consolidated on a single, consistent resolution mechanic, 4e finally addressed long-standing class & encounter balance issues.
The OGL was introduced with 3e, so the 1e/2e roll had no OGL, the 2e/3e was a roll /to/ the OGL, and the 3e/4e roll was /away/ from the OGL to the GSL. There's another candidate. Related to that, the 3e/4e rev-roll incited the development of a 3e clone, Pathfinder. The 2e/3e roll didn't result in a clone of 2e (it /did/ result in a clone/parody of 1e, called Hackmaster, though). Since the move to the GSL by D&D, every past ed of D&D has been cloned under the OGL.
From the above, I'm tempted to conclude that the real issue is the OGL (or, rather, the abandonment of the OGL), because it's the glaring difference. The OGL did get many other companies on board the d20 bandwagon, which helped WotC and D&D re-gain market dominance, and that would reasonably have contributed to the adoption of 3e. By the same token, moving away from the OGL turned collaborators into competitors. We gamers are not a particularly conformist breed of geek, I believe, but what's floating around in the market does have an influence. If you're nerd-raging against (or for) something, having a competing product to wallet-vote for (or against) is going to re-enforce that sense of conflict. And, the sense of conflict escalated right into the 'edition war.'
The obvious next (npi) question is how will 5e avoid the same problem. Well, maybe by being an OGL game, and welcoming d20 back to the WotC fold? We haven't heard anything on that subject as yet, AFAIK. While the 3.0/3.5 changeover wasn't a full rev-roll, it did show that fans and collaborators were reasonably willing to embrace a shift in the flagship d20 game and a revised SRD. If D&D:Next is just the flagship of d20:NEXT with an NSRD, there could be relatively little resistance. If it uses something like the GSL, the OGL can continue to be used as a rallying point for those who reject it (and there have been some with every rev-roll).
Last edited by Tony Vargas; Saturday, 28th July, 2012 at 12:28 AM.
Saturday, 28th July, 2012, 12:49 AM #165
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
I'm going to grant you a "quantum state" (all possible iterated outcomes of unactualized fiction either as a superposition or there or not there) within a "quantum state" (our real world multi-iterated considerations of each of the first "quantum state" with each of those considerations either actualizing or not actualizing or existing somewhere in between.). I don't agree that its a classic "quantum state" given the secondary layer of multi-dimension involved...but its truly not relevant to the fact that if the unactualized gorge exists in a quantum state then so does all other possible iterations of the unactualized fiction...process simulated (for those within the fiction to behold from one moment to the next) or narratively/meta-game contrived (as in Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead).
Saturday, 28th July, 2012, 01:36 AM #166
Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)
When I think of 4e's Turn Undead, I don't think of it as a footnote encounter power - it's very strong. And clerics have other radiant powers too, all of which are strong againt most undead (which are radiant vulnerable). (Also, 3E turn undead did not seem to have much in common with AD&D's - a different, and strangely complex, mechanic, plus a usage cap.)
When I think of rogues being about tumbling through combat, I think of the thief-acrobat in UA. The 4e rogue seems to me to deliver on the play experience that the thief-acrobat promised. (And is still the "skill king" - +2 skills in a 17-skill environment, and in which Pick Locks, Find Traps, Remove Traps and Pick Pockets have all been rolled together, is not neglibile. Even less so when you look at the Rogue utility powers, which improve their skill usage.)
Your experience and perceptions are what they are, but you shouldn't be shocked that for others experience and perception are different.
boardgames are boardgames. The D&D movie uses the same trademark - are you saying that it's an RPG too?
Saturday, 28th July, 2012, 01:38 AM #167
Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)
As for agency, how does it deprive your PC of agency for the GM to narrate a gorge? That's the GM doing his/her job: providing adversity?
Also, a general comment on the oft-repeated "Schroedinger's X" - what are wandering monsters, one of the oldest tropes in the game, or the reinforcements talked about in the Caves of Chaos playtest, but "Schroedinger's rats/goblins/kobolds/etc"?
Saturday, 28th July, 2012, 01:53 AM #168
I remember one case in a CHAMPIONS campaign where I was playing an illiterate superhero and the GM resolved something like a skill challenge with my player reading from a book.
Saturday, 28th July, 2012, 03:29 AM #169
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
2) My main problem with the idea of a "quantum state" within unactualized fiction is straight-forward. The multi-iterated, unactualized fiction does not exist within the real world and therefore quantum theory and the theory of relativity do not apply. They are figments or mind apparitions not composed of quantum particles. The thought experiment of Shroedinger's Cat is illuminating because the construct can, and does in one fashion or another, exist in the real world in which subatomic particles are governed by quantum theory. For one to use the term "quantum state" to define multi-iterated, unactualized fiction seems to presuppose that the neurological manifestation of thoughts/figments is ruled by "quantum theory" (therefore all unactualized, fictional extrapolations, nonsense or not, exist in a "quantum state") and then goes one further to presuppose that every fictional world's physics are ruled by the theory of relativity and quantum theory. I don't know. I'm just very uncomfortable with stretching a term that is specifically used to describe real world physics at a sub-atomic level which has yet to be quantized in such a way. Reminds me of open-ended Divinations
- The gorge appears over the ridge while pursuit is closing (Perhaps the character knew about the gorge but in the midst of trying to dodge arrows or steer the horse around dangerous impediments, he missed the subtle trail mark to find the narrow, hidden land-bridge).
- What to do now?
- Attempt to jump the far-reaching gap on the horse?
- Attempt to bluff the pursuit by stacking your pack and saddlebags in the saddle (to look like a rider) and slap the horse on its flanks so it gallops parallel to the gorge and hope the pursuit follows (then climb down)?
- Perhaps you know the terrain quite well and now that you're off your horse, catching your breath and in dire straights, you take inventory of your location. Perhaps...your intense knowledge of the terrain, or geology in general, allows you to know of/find a sinkhole that runs to an underground river the crosses beneath the canyon? Or maybe you know of a precarious switchback that leads down to the base of the canyon...to a cave complex that runs deep into the forest where you need to end up.
Saturday, 28th July, 2012, 03:55 AM #170
If you treated Castle Ravenloft like a campaign, leveling up three or four times and RPing your character, how different would it be from the D&D RPG?
If you took the Delve game rules, added more levels, and slipped some DM monster control or scenerio design would it be an adequate 5th Edition?
After all, it's an evolution of 4e, uses the D&D IP, is balanced yet simple, and there's very little DM fiat. What more do you need for D&D?