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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
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    So what went "wrong"? When did save the world from ultimate evil plots, spikey armor, buster swords and fights against huge numbers of enemies which you easily dispatch with your superpowers become the norm? And why?
    About 1976 with the release of AD&D. I suggest you take a look at early modules if you think that fights against huge numbers of easily dispatched enemies is somehow new to this generation.

    I also suggest looking at the D series of modules if you want spikey armor and whatnot, also released about 30ish years ago. Oh, and the sequel module features a giant robot spider. 1985 gave us Earthshaker, a module about a giant robot run by Red Russian gnomes.

    Never mind movies like the Rambo sequels or pretty much any 80's movie with Schwarzenegger (it frightens me that Firefox's spellchecker knows that word) which features Arnie mowing down masses of baddies with nary a scratch.

    I always love how people want to blame "this generation" for liking exactly the same things that we liked thirty years ago. Funny how history tends to get ignored.
    Last edited by Hussar; Monday, 19th November, 2012 at 01:11 AM.
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  • #22
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    Y'know what? I'm actually going to directly answer the thread title of why is realism lame.

    I love running naval based fantasy campaigns. Pirates of the Caribbean, Master and Commander, that sort of thing. Love it to pieces. But, the reality is, ship to ship combat is mind numbingly boring. Age of sail ship battles take days, several days, and possibly weeks, to resolve. Even when the two ships are actually in a position to shoot at each other, we're talking hours of jockeying for position. Actual boarding? Yeah, that happens after many, many hours of not a lot happening.

    In other words, realism here is about as interesting as watching paint dry.

    Or, look at the hit point discussions. People were saying that one day is too short for complete healing, but had no problems with three days. Which, let's be honest here, is completely unrealistic. There is no such thing as a potentially fatal wound that you completely recover from in three days. It just doesn't happen. So, why should that version of "realistic" be better than another? Realistic would be months of healing time, possible infection, complications and long term effects. Again, totally realistic and about as interesting as watching paint dry.

    We accept 7 impossible things before breakfast. A fighter with a longsword cannot possibly kill something as large as a dragon. He just can't. Anymore than a two year old armed with a pin can kill you. That's the size relations we're talking about. I mean, dude with a sword vs elephant pretty much always ends the same way, but, hey, it's no problem that Thugdar kills dinosaurs with an axe?

    It isn't that realism is lame. It's that people are insistant on beating other people over the head with the wrongbadfun stick and hiding behind claims of "realism".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Y'know what? I'm actually going to directly answer the thread title of why is realism lame.

    I love running naval based fantasy campaigns. Pirates of the Caribbean, Master and Commander, that sort of thing. Love it to pieces. But, the reality is, ship to ship combat is mind numbingly boring. Age of sail ship battles take days, several days, and possibly weeks, to resolve. Even when the two ships are actually in a position to shoot at each other, we're talking hours of jockeying for position. Actual boarding? Yeah, that happens after many, many hours of not a lot happening.

    In other words, realism here is about as interesting as watching paint dry.

    Or, look at the hit point discussions. People were saying that one day is too short for complete healing, but had no problems with three days. Which, let's be honest here, is completely unrealistic. There is no such thing as a potentially fatal wound that you completely recover from in three days. It just doesn't happen. So, why should that version of "realistic" be better than another? Realistic would be months of healing time, possible infection, complications and long term effects. Again, totally realistic and about as interesting as watching paint dry.

    We accept 7 impossible things before breakfast. A fighter with a longsword cannot possibly kill something as large as a dragon. He just can't. Anymore than a two year old armed with a pin can kill you. That's the size relations we're talking about. I mean, dude with a sword vs elephant pretty much always ends the same way, but, hey, it's no problem that Thugdar kills dinosaurs with an axe?

    It isn't that realism is lame. It's that people are insistant on beating other people over the head with the wrongbadfun stick and hiding behind claims of "realism".

    I think there are a few parts to your post which highlight what I feel is a problem with the conversation: too many absolutes.

    Some of the people who want more realism (myself included) do not require perfect realism. Like many other aspects of a rpg or rules system, I tend to view realism more like a sliding bar rather than a binary thing. Wanting more realism doesn't necessarily mean I want perfect realism.

    Bringing up naval combat is something I find interesting too because it highlights an area of play which prompts me to want more realism. Yes, I do agree that the time scale of a naval battle might be boring. However, the other end of the spectrum --the one in which a D&D druid can quite literally defeat an entire navy by himself while barely breaking a sweat- is something which ruins my fun. It ruins my fun because I want to be able to have cool ship battles; swashbuckling adventures, and other such things. It's a little tough to do that when one PC has the capability of making an entire ship obsolete.

    I also find that your view (which I in no way feel is wrong; just different than my own) brings me to a question: why is it that all game time must play out in combat rounds or similar time? If it's going to take several months to heal, what's wrong with the GM explaining to the players how much time they have, and then asking them what they'd like to do during that time? That would seem to me to be an excellent time to allow players to explore things like item creation, castle building, political machinations, and plenty of other in-game activities which require time to complete.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny3D3D View Post
    I think there are a few parts to your post which highlight what I feel is a problem with the conversation: too many absolutes.

    Some of the people who want more realism (myself included) do not require perfect realism. Like many other aspects of a rpg or rules system, I tend to view realism more like a sliding bar rather than a binary thing. Wanting more realism doesn't necessarily mean I want perfect realism.

    Bringing up naval combat is something I find interesting too because it highlights an area of play which prompts me to want more realism. Yes, I do agree that the time scale of a naval battle might be boring. However, the other end of the spectrum --the one in which a D&D druid can quite literally defeat an entire navy by himself while barely breaking a sweat- is something which ruins my fun. It ruins my fun because I want to be able to have cool ship battles; swashbuckling adventures, and other such things. It's a little tough to do that when one PC has the capability of making an entire ship obsolete.
    You'll get no argument from me here on this. D&D casters make naval combat pretty ridiculous. Never mind the druid. The wizard crafts and Extended Wand of Fireballs and now has a 50 charge fireball wand that out ranges anything you could possibly mount on a ship. Why would you ever bother with a ballista when a 1st level wizard is a thousand times more effective?

    I also find that your view (which I in no way feel is wrong; just different than my own) brings me to a question: why is it that all game time must play out in combat rounds or similar time? If it's going to take several months to heal, what's wrong with the GM explaining to the players how much time they have, and then asking them what they'd like to do during that time? That would seem to me to be an excellent time to allow players to explore things like item creation, castle building, political machinations, and plenty of other in-game activities which require time to complete.
    Because you now have one player riding the pines for several months while his character heals, while the other characters are doing all this fun stuff. Never minding, of course, that at low levels, it's pretty much impossible for any of the PC's to actually engage in any of those in-game activities. But, at the end of the day, I don't play D&D to be a spectator. And even half-way realistic healing would force far too many players to ride the pines far too often.

    Sure, it's a sliding scale. I agree with that. But, considering the issue at hand with healing was 1 day vs 3 days (or 8 days absolute maximum in 3e), I find the issue to be a bit ludicrous. If 3 days is perfectly acceptable to go from six seconds from death to completely healed, then 1 day is no different.

    Like I said, we accept impossible things all the time. A guy with an axe killing a giant or a dinosaur? Really? And people going to start fussing about spikey armor (who turned the clock back to 2001?) or whatnot? How can anyone complain about a lack of realism on one hand but not have any problems with the ninety-nine thousand other things we take for granted in the name of keeping the game going?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    You'll get no argument from me here on this. D&D casters make naval combat pretty ridiculous. Never mind the druid. The wizard crafts and Extended Wand of Fireballs and now has a 50 charge fireball wand that out ranges anything you could possibly mount on a ship. Why would you ever bother with a ballista when a 1st level wizard is a thousand times more effective?
    It seems we agree on that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Because you now have one player riding the pines for several months while his character heals, while the other characters are doing all this fun stuff. Never minding, of course, that at low levels, it's pretty much impossible for any of the PC's to actually engage in any of those in-game activities. But, at the end of the day, I don't play D&D to be a spectator. And even half-way realistic healing would force far too many players to ride the pines far too often.
    Ideally, I'd hope that would foster thoughts toward thinking in terms of the character and what they're willing to risk for the rewards offered rather than what tends to be the D&D stereotype in which the players choose to fight everything and fight clear to the last HP of the last PC. Giving other options such as stealth, social skills, and a variety of other things a little more room to shine by making combat a little rougher is ok with me. I realize I'm probably in the minority with that sort of thinking, but that is my preference. I'd find it a refreshing change of pace to play in a game where combat isn't always the best option.

    That's not to say I don't enjoy combat. I certainly do. It just gets a little old when hack first and ask questions later is so often the best way to solve a problem.

    Even strictly speaking in terms of combat, I'd still find it nice if facing an entire army was something which (generally speaking) required having an army of your own if you hoped to succeed. Again, this isn't somewhere I require perfect realism. I'm a huge fan of R. Howard, and Conan facing several foes was a common thing. However, he still had his limits. I prefer that to a D&D 3rd Edition fighter with the right feats (great cleave I think) being able to teleport across the battlefield in 6 seconds by chopping down the entirety of an opposing force. Likewise, it was a bit of a buzzkill to face Orcus at the end of my first 4E campaign and find that he was wholly pathetic in comparison to the power level of the PCs. I find nothing wrong with mythic level heroes or mythic stories; mythology is something I love, but sometimes it would be nice to be able to play a hero by giving a rousing speech to lead men into battle or perhaps by pulling an Audie Murphy and surviving despite the odds.

    If nothing else, it would at least be nice to have a little more realism so that a mount or an animal companion didn't suddenly become worthless because I went up a few levels. The questing knight on horseback is a classic trope. Yet, somehow, it is one which many of the rpgs in the d20 family (D&D and Pathfinder) tend to do poorly. Part of the reason behind that is because the PCs and the things they face tend to be on a completely different scale than the world they live in. Having more realism --even if it's only more 'realistic' in terms of the game world and fiction-- is something I feel would help me to include something like that in my game as both a player and a GM.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Sure, it's a sliding scale. I agree with that. But, considering the issue at hand with healing was 1 day vs 3 days (or 8 days absolute maximum in 3e), I find the issue to be a bit ludicrous. If 3 days is perfectly acceptable to go from six seconds from death to completely healed, then 1 day is no different.

    Like I said, we accept impossible things all the time. A guy with an axe killing a giant or a dinosaur? Really? And people going to start fussing about spikey armor (who turned the clock back to 2001?) or whatnot? How can anyone complain about a lack of realism on one hand but not have any problems with the ninety-nine thousand other things we take for granted in the name of keeping the game going?
    Sometimes the small details can be more important to a person than the big ones. Like I said in one of my previous posts, Battlefield is a first person shooter which has more realistic bullet travel models compared to Call of Duty. It's a small detail, but that small detail makes a world of difference in my ability to enjoy one game more so than the other.

    I don't have much comment on the days required to heal. I'm somewhat assuming the 1 day versus 3 day argument is something born of 5th Edition conversations. Truth be told, I'm currently only vaguely aware of what some of the hot issues are for 5th. Somewhere around the beginning of October, I stopped paying attention except for a few blips on the radar which I found interesting.

    As far as giants and dinosaurs... I suppose it's worth saying that I feel it should be far tougher to take down something like a full grown dragon than it tends to be in most d20 games I have played. I'd be fine with a suitably dangerous creature (such as an adult dragon) to be a match for a small squad of men --perhaps more for an especially dangerous specimen. With the right skills or the right knowledge (Smaug's weak spot is an excellent example,) odds would improve.

    I'd prefer a game in which one of my knowledge skills allows me to learn that the secret to defeating a demon lord is coating my blade in holy water and speaking a long forgotten incantation at midnight to one in which that same demon lord is relegated to being a big bad of XP which I laugh in the face of as I stomp him into the ground. I can enjoy the latter style and often do, but, all things being equal, I lean toward finding the former more engaging.

    I'm not opposed to having fantasy in my fantasy. I just wish there was enough reality to be able to tell some of the stories I want to tell. I find that --for me-- I get the best experience when there is the right blend of 'real' and unreal. I'm fine with elves and dragons and magic, but I'd still like to be able to have my set piece battles, castle sieges, and naval warfare as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
    I just wonder. Games add more and more over the top stuff to appeal to their target audience and I can't really understand why this is necessary.

    Somehow "down to earth" or even "realistic" stuff has become so lame in the mind of the current generation of gamers that they do not want to do anything to do with it. For fantasy this means among other things armor has to be non-functional and covered in spikes and swords have to be giant slabs of metal no person could wield.
    Why is that? It can't be because of escapism. We do not live in a medieval/fantasy world so a "down to earth" setting would be equally effective in that.
    And when you look back at the worlds history, especially at how other cultures than your own developed it is easy to see that a lot of interesting things happened there which would inspire your mind equally, if not more so than the usual fantasy cliches we get instead.

    So what went "wrong"? When did save the world from ultimate evil plots, spikey armor, buster swords and fights against huge numbers of enemies which you easily dispatch with your superpowers become the norm? And why?
    I'm not sure I can answer you. But I can tell you that a game about Dungeons and Dragons - in short, ridiculous subterranian complexes that follow nothing like a known ecology and are there specifically for heroes to loot, and ridiculous flying, firebreathing violations of the laws of thermodynamics and power to weight ratios have precious little to do with realism.

    Further I can name a few books on my ridiculously long to-read (or to-watch in some cases) pile. Outlaws at the Water Margin, the Orlando cycle, Journey into the West, the Lokasenna, the Faerie Queene, and the Epic of Gilgamesh. And such modern works of fantasy as those on my reading list are full of ridiculous powers, over the top descriptions, and are in no way down to earth.

    So it's hardly a new thing. And why? Because people want to fantasise that they matter to the world. We don't want to be third-serf-from-the-right.

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    I prefer the term plausible to realistic. I want elements in my games be they Fantasy or Science Fiction to be plausible to the audience. To venture into the realm of "realistic" would be to get in the way of the story and, in some cases, the rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dndungeoneer View Post
    I want elements in my games be they Fantasy or Science Fiction to be plausible to the audience.
    But that doesn't help too much. Plausibility (being seemingly reasonable or probable) is audience-dependent. Unless we are unified in what we all think is "reasonable", asking a game to be plausible isn't an objective bar for them to meet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    I love running naval based fantasy campaigns. Pirates of the Caribbean, Master and Commander, that sort of thing. Love it to pieces. But, the reality is, ship to ship combat is mind numbingly boring. Age of sail ship battles take days, several days, and possibly weeks, to resolve. Even when the two ships are actually in a position to shoot at each other, we're talking hours of jockeying for position. Actual boarding? Yeah, that happens after many, many hours of not a lot happening.

    In other words, realism here is about as interesting as watching paint dry.
    I think this is very illustrative of the difference between accuracy and precision.

    To be accurate, these uninteresting parts don't require a lot of modeling in mechanics, the time, effort, and tactics involved simply need to be acknowledged, and dealt with quickly in real time so you can get to the good parts. (I think Stormwrack's narrative combat does a decent job of this, but I haven't used it a lot and my games have been landbound for a while now).

    Game mechanics can be very abstract while still acknowledging basic tenets of reality...
    Or, look at the hit point discussions. People were saying that one day is too short for complete healing, but had no problems with three days. Which, let's be honest here, is completely unrealistic. There is no such thing as a potentially fatal wound that you completely recover from in three days. It just doesn't happen. So, why should that version of "realistic" be better than another? Realistic would be months of healing time, possible infection, complications and long term effects. Again, totally realistic and about as interesting as watching paint dry.
    ...like health mechanics. The problem with hit points and healing rates isn't that they lack the precision to model every part of the human body, it's that they fail to acknowledge some of the basic parameters of health and injury that create verisimilitude and/or are dramatically interesting.

    How many characters in fantasy novels are "mortally wounded", but make one last heroic act or goodbye speech before they die? That can't happen in D&D's health window. How many are scarred, or walk with a limp? How many battles are described by attrition, with the winner gradually injuring the loser until he can no longer fight? We can't have that in an rpg because it would be a "death spiral", as I understand, which is apparently bad.

    As to healing, how much of the Lord of the Rings is spent on unhealed characters? Frodo's battle with vile damage from the ringwraith's blade or spider poison or Faramir sitting in bed while others fight for the future of the world? These things are more interesting than paint drying!

    Does every injury have to happen as frequently as in real life or as irreversibly? No. You can simplify things, make them abstract. It doesn't have to be all that realistic. But expanding the rules to cover some of the basic possibilities for "stuff that can happen when someone whacks you with a piece of metal" opens up a new world of game tactics and storytelling possibilities.

    It isn't that realism is lame. It's that people are insistant on beating other people over the head with the wrongbadfun stick and hiding behind claims of "realism".
    I haven't seen much of this. I have seen a lot of the reverse: people claiming that because rpgs can't or shouldn't perfectly emulate reality, any move in that direction is foolhardy.

    It isn't.
    Last edited by Ahnehnois; Monday, 19th November, 2012 at 09:27 PM.
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