Legends & Lore 09/03 - RPG design philosophy - Page 5





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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Nightwing View Post
    Disagree, though allow me to frame. In any mechanically light situation, such as a social interaction, exploration or meta-game plot realisation (you know, when you solve the mystery or connect the dots), characters can shine independent of the system used to create them.

    <snip>

    In a mechanically heavy situation, and you can't get much more mechanically heavy than 4E combat (3E comes a close second!), the way the characters are built makes a huge difference in their ability to shine. When built similarly, following the same structure, not differing too much in terms of defences and other numbers, it's difficult to shine in a unique way, to do something that nobody else could do, to solve a problem in a way that only you can. What it does instead is encourage strong teamwork, and synergy
    Interesting post.

    I think I have a different view on two points. First, I'm not sure about the "mechanically light" thing - a lot of social interaction in D&D is (in a certain sense, at least) mechanically heavy (eg the use of a Charm or Suggestion spell), and I'm not sure "mechanically light" fits well with "balancing classes around the three pillars".

    Second, I'm not sure that similar structure in a mechanically heavy domain precludes unique shining. It seems to depend heavily on what the content of the structure is.

    But happy to hear more from you about what I'm missing in the above, or where I've gone wrong!

 

  • #42
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    I agree that the areas I highlighted don't have to be mechanically light, but even in a strict D&D game in which the outcomes of interactions are heavily dice-based, they are nothing like the mechanical depth of tactical combat. I guess I mean that, probably because we understand social and exploration in real life, there is less need to pin every aspect down with a number/rule. I would be amused to see 'Social AC' though, the number you need to hit with a diplomacy check to change someone's mind - SAC 20 being an old curmudgeon and SAC10 being a child.

    Anyway, yes, the structure of the heavy system does determine how and what shining involves. I think 4E tried hard to give classes (well, more roles) their unique shiny thing, but (it's the usual complaint) the similarity factor was too high for my liking. It's possible to design things to do the same job but behave very differently, and I think they too often opted for sameness to prevent silliness down the line.
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  • #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Nightwing View Post
    I agree that the areas I highlighted don't have to be mechanically light, but even in a strict D&D game in which the outcomes of interactions are heavily dice-based, they are nothing like the mechanical depth of tactical combat. I guess I mean that, probably because we understand social and exploration in real life, there is less need to pin every aspect down with a number/rule.
    Heh - I think that, just as with combat, we typically think we understand social interactions and exploration a lot better than we actually do. Even very superficial reading in psychology and anthropology strongly suggest this to me for the former - and a small amount of caving experience does the same for the latter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Nightwing View Post
    I would be amused to see 'Social AC' though, the number you need to hit with a diplomacy check to change someone's mind - SAC 20 being an old curmudgeon and SAC10 being a child.
    Even though social "defences" and "attack powers" might figure into such a scheme, I think the social and exploration systems I would love to see for D&D would look very different to the combat system.
    Balesir
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  • #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Except that the individual chess pieces don't have individual agency - in fact, some are literally pawns! (And all metaphorically are such.)
    ehh..fine then...They're more like the positions in American Football. Quarterbacks, Receivers, Linemen, Cornerbacks, etc. all have special rules that define how the game works around them. It seems to work out for them, the NFL is the single most profitable sports league in the world and American kids don't seem to have a lot of trouble getting into the game. This in spite of the fact that the Quarterback is demonstrably both the most important position and gets to call the plays. Talented receivers still seem to think that they are God's gift to...well, everybody...in spite of being merely the QB's "pawns". (Maybe more like bishops...)

    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Each PC has to be a viable tool for a player expressing his/her agency (= protagonism) in the game. That is a fairly strong constraint, which PCs modelled on the variety of chess pieces would almost certainly fail to satisfy if mechanical effectiveness was even remotely relevant to gameplay (which it frequently is in D&D).
    Personally, I feel that the second part of that is more the issue than the first. D&D too often, and I would say 4e still fails in this regard, defines "mechanical effectiveness" as effectively equivalent to combat effectiveness.

  • #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadeydm View Post
    "The game is about the adventures of fighters, rogues, wizards, and clerics, not a wizard and his or her lackeys."
    It's always great to see the man in charge repeating/promoting one of the core myths of the edition war...not.
    SIGH...
    That's right; doesn't he know he isn't allowed to say anything that potentially disparages any edition other than 4th Ed?

    He really should have that straight by now.
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  • #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patryn of Elvenshae View Post
    That's right; doesn't he know he isn't allowed to say anything that potentially disparages any edition other than 4th Ed?

    He really should have that straight by now.
    So your position is that he has been disparaging 4E?
    I hope with strange eons even the edition war may die.

  • #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadeydm View Post
    "The game is about the adventures of fighters, rogues, wizards, and clerics, not a wizard and his or her lackeys."
    It's always great to see the man in charge repeating/promoting one of the core myths of the edition war...not.
    SIGH...
    I'm not sure what myth you're referring to, but when Mike was interviewing to join R&D at WotC he discussed how casters were ahead of everyone else in 3e.

    Basically a known weakness of 3e - it removed the downsides of casters while also improving them, which has spawned far too numerous discussions of ways to reign them back in, or buff non-casters. It's good for the folks in charge to keep an eye on such things while planning D&D Next.

  • #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadeydm View Post
    So your position is that he has been disparaging 4E?
    Not particuarly, no - but he has said some things about it that struck me as off.

    But that's not my point, and you know it, so ...
    "A rock on a stick has a 5' reach unless otherwise specified."

  • #49
    Yeah, mentioning Caster Dominance in 3E is like mentioning how terribly Utility Powers are implemented in 4E. It's a known weakness of the system that no one has ever managed to patch out no matter how hard they tried (Book of Nine Swords, Skill Utility Powers).

    If you think your preferred gaming system has no weaknesses, you're probably wrong (or have discovered the Holy Grail)

  • #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadeydm View Post
    "The game is about the adventures of fighters, rogues, wizards, and clerics, not a wizard and his or her lackeys."
    It's always great to see the man in charge repeating/promoting one of the core myths of the edition war...not.
    SIGH...
    So pointing out one of (if not the most) complained about issues is wstion warring now?

    Even people who don't run into the problem of caster dommanance atleast have heard of it...

    And it is a sticking point for alot of us, if I feel the unafishal rule of 5e is the same as 3( fighters cant have nice things) then I will not support it
    I'm with D&D...Any Edition

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