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Thread: More reflections on 4e and 5e.
Friday, 5th October, 2012, 12:15 PM #121
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
Secondly, it doesn't do attritive damage. It knocks enemies out, which allows you to easily slay them. It has a very dramatic effect.
It's both unified mechanics and the reliance on the battledgrid and minis that results in a less vivid imaginary scene. It's because people don't imagine things unless they need to.
Trying to convince people to imagine/narrate things vividly when it's not necessitated by the mechanics in any way and there's no in-game payoff is just lame, passive-aggressive game design, IMO.
And this throws in that in my experience there are two types of creativity (and don't tell me I'm polarising a continuum). People who create from nothing and then get annoyed when there is something there because it gets in the way of their vision. And people who build and incorporate on what is there and are more than happy to have more things there to build off. Me, I like there to be things there - and find that the battlemat and seeing the relative positioning of everyone to everything helps me build and add detail without getting across everyone else's vision.
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Friday, 5th October, 2012, 01:21 PM #122
Defender (Lvl 8)
Range: 30 yds. Components: V, S, M
Duration: 5 rds./level Casting Time: 1
Area of Effect: Special Saving Throw: None
As for the rest of the debate, I can only speak from my personal preference that as a DM I prefer no grid, it encourages me to describe things in detail which is also inspired by the numerous questions by the PCs. However I imagine as a player, there are times where things have to be reflected on a grid or drawn out on a piece of paper for clarity purposes.
I have plenty of times had the instance where a player has misunderstood the setting or missed something I said, even though the remaining players will all confirm I mentioned 'it.' In those instances, a grid or something drawn would have definitely helped.
'Theatre of the Mind' at least to me encourages player participation and concenration which I would imagine increases ones immersion (and therefore active imagination) during roleplaying.
Last edited by Sadras; Friday, 5th October, 2012 at 01:35 PM.
Friday, 5th October, 2012, 02:52 PM #123
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
There are artists.
There are engineers.
They both create and they both enjoy the process of creation, the medium by which they create, and their finished product.
However, the way they organize information and express themselves, their methodology, their mediums, and their talents (and thus their respective tastes, yearnings and expectactions) often have very little overlap. Sometimes you will have folks who possess both "schemes" within their IRL build. However, they are anomalies amongst the general populace.
Friday, 5th October, 2012, 03:24 PM #124
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
I think it depends on two things:
1) How often you re-frame based on narrative input. If you consider re-framing during resolution, based on unexpected twists brought in by players or DM inspiration, then this breaks away from any possible a priori analysis and complicates the game so that it is not mechanically simply gambling on dice throws.
2) How much a resolution can draw down or entangle with resources used in other sub-parts of the game. IMO this needs to be a *choice* inherent in the resolution (e.g. spend a Healing Surge to negate a failure), not a fixed result in the resolution mechanics (you fail = lose a healing surge), to make the game mechanically interesting.
In 4E, I see skill challenges as a bit of a let down as a stand-alone game because of this. The mechanics are very bare-bones, and little more than basic number-crunching gambling. It is saved as being entertaining and worthwhile if you heavily involve the fiction, or if choices taken (e.g. using athletics to avoid a sentry versus bluff to talk your way in) result in highly unpredictable later choices and effects (using athletics means you are now in a stealth game until you can get away from the guards, using bluff means you are now in a social game - if you allowed either immediately then the earlier choice is too isolated and just becomes % chance of success).
The written guidelines in e.g. the rules compendium really don't address this. They present skill challenges as essentially x% chance of success - with some dice rolls in the middle. All the complications in the middle, the choice of which skill to use, counting success/failure, allowing various "advantages" to negate a fail or be a double success etc, actually have very little mechanical effect other than adjusting x a bit up or down.
In short, there's a big risk that there is nothing taking the role of the battle board in a skill challenge. A skill challenge typically explores a huge abstract story space, and relies on the DM and players to get a feel for that, either making entertainment out of narrating things for the fun of it (ignoring the fact it is mechanically weak), or leaning heavily on advanced DM-ing and playing to make it mechanically interesting (but probably highly experimental and unbalanced)
Friday, 5th October, 2012, 03:38 PM #125
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
It's more work to do this but can help greatly with the visualisation of large abstract challenges and better connect player actions to the fiction.
Friday, 5th October, 2012, 05:13 PM #126
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
It's also why I prefer Rolemaster melee combat - choose how to allocate your pool to attack and defence - over Runequest melee combat - roll your to hit, then the other guy rolls to parry - even though both are ultra-simulationist engines.
In D&D combat the most basic way of doing this is by having the GM make interesting choices for the monsters - of course, that in turn depends upon having interesting monsters to use for this purpose!
Friday, 5th October, 2012, 10:43 PM #127
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
[quote=Libramarian;6027094]I am quite aware of that fact, which is made possible because computers are the hardware doing all the processing of the game mechanics. D&D, on the other hand, requires people to be the hardware that does all the processing of the game mechanics. And until we've got a computer that can really think like a human (and not just pass the Turing test), people will still need to be the hardware that runs D&D.Are you aware that most modern videogames don't require the player to read the manual at all? You just turn it on and you learn how to play as you go. This is what D&D has to compete with. Oddly D&D has been going in the wrong direction in this regard, literally since OD&D.
I am also aware that these modern games still require you to read things, like your power descriptions (how does a WoW Mage know the different between Scorch, Fire Blast, Fireball, and Pyroblast if they don't read it?) or item statistics (Mass Effect has statistics for all kinds of equipment). Some of them implicitly require out-of-game reading, like raiding strategies, farming guides, and all that jazz. And people do it.
If you don't read Scorch and Pyroblast in WoW, how will you know the difference between the two? How will you figure out casting rotations without reading the powers and comparing... or going online and reading someone else's guide?
Again, I reject this "no reading required" nonsense. Most mainstream popular video games still require you to learn things and to remember them in order to be successful, whether it's the in-game mechanics that are visible to the player or out-of-game analysis and guides. Some require front-loaded learning in the form of character creation, giving the player choices to make before they fully understand what those choices mean.
If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him... and take his stuff.
We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are.
Saturday, 6th October, 2012, 02:00 AM #128
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
This, incidently, is what I see as the crippling flaw with 13th Age. And why, although I'll gleefully loot it for ideas (and it's crammed with them), I'm unlikely to play a fighter-type.
Saturday, 6th October, 2012, 05:13 AM #129
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
Saturday, 6th October, 2012, 07:06 AM #130
Magsman (Lvl 14)
"I like the game. I just don't like any of the parts which are involved with playing the game." huh?
As for memorizing... well, that's kind of what the character sheet is for right? To write down basic information relevant to your interaction with the game world. There's no need to memorize much of anything.