A discussion of metagame concepts in game design - Page 18
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  1. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arilyn View Post
    This wasn't really supposed to be a discussion of what is or isn't metagaming. Emerikol was quite clear that he wasn't looking for a fight, just suggestions on games that might fit his preference. I mean, I kinda get it. I wanted to leap in and defend my preferred "meta-gamey" games too, and I think I might have hit xp on some Fate defender posts, but I think it's pretty clear on what was asked.
    The problem is that without understanding what was meant by metagamey you can not give good recommendations. And there are people with Emerikol's tastes who are a whole lot more flexible than Emerikol - for example (a) they don't care what everyone else at the table does as long as they don't themselves need to use metagame mechanics, (b) they are fine with WoD-style quintessence mechanics, blood pools, or even willpower, or even the (a+b) combination where they are fine with Fate style mechanics as long as someone points out to them that for their character they can use stamina, willpower, or blood pools as a physical representation of fate points.

    If I were to recommend the game I can think of with the fewest metagame mechanics I'd start out by recommending Apocalypse World - but I'm almost certain that it would be anathema to Emerikol on the grounds that it has a different player/GM relationship from the one he likes, and especially a different relationship between the GM and the world and it allows for player choice in how they approach the world in a way historic D&D doesn't but that is entirely in line with the way people can decide to approach the world.

    And where I'd start for Emerikol? Almost any game from the 80s from GURPS to Call of Cthulhu, plus many many games with those design sensibilities including WoIN, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4e, Starfinder, and most of the OSR. They aren't hard to find.
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  2. #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    The problem is that I can predict with extremely high accuracy what you will consider metagaming and what you will not through one simple algorithm. Is it made from parts that are either classic D&D or from classic 80s physics-sim design. The problem is that this category is not anything to do with the sort of choices you make or resource mechanics you have. It is entirely and completely to do with how familiar you are with those mechanics.

    If you were to say "This is not to my taste" I would shrug. I've a pretty clear understanding of your taste. When you say "My problem is [thing]" I am going to want to explore the bounds of [thing] because I enjoy game design - and because one of the key aspects of a class based system is that it enjoys players with very different preferences to sit down at the same table and all have fun as long as they have at least the flexibility to accept that not every class must cater in every way to them.
    Well I keep using different names in an attempt to keep the peace. There is a class of mechanic, name it what you will (and it has nothing to do with 80's games of necessity). I've used many names for it and everyone wants to fight every single time on the name. So we can't can't discuss anything because the other side just derails the conversation.

    And I don't care about someone with your tastes playing in my specific game. I think you'd likely be unhappy and end up making everyone else unhappy with your discontent. I would not likely be happy in your game either. I am not worried about make every GROUP open to every playstyle. If I had a goal, and I don't now that the game is out, it would have been for the game to be open to all playstyles so people could group to the playstyle they prefer.

    But these things I find objectionable are just as objectionable when done with a different character than mine. When everyone in your group comes up with a really great name except for one guy who calls himself "Bob", what is your reaction? Doesn't his lack of commitment to the type of game bother you? Now if it's intended to be a comedy that is fine. I don't tend to play those types of games.


    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    First, this is an entirely different thing from metagame mechanics. If we use Circe as the fictional inspiration for the wizard, why not Hercules or Cu-Cuchlain for the fighter? And if we use a random real world fighter for the fighter basis, why not a stage magician for the wizard? I'm serious here. One of my fundamental problems with non-4e WotC fighters is, even once you get past them being unable to make meaningful decisions in the very area that form the basis of them being an expert fighter like how to pace themselves, is that we're playing Ars Magica or Harry Potter with wizards and muggles.
    That though does not of necessity relate to my post. Yes we can bring up everything I've ever argued about on any thread with any earnestness. Realize though that many people played 1e, 2e, and 3e without feeling like the fighter was overshadowed. The rogue, sure maybe and I've said how I'd fix that. So for us the cure is worse than the problem. But that is beside the point to my original post. I have tried really hard I think to keep us focused here. You like a certain style of play and you have certain views on what makes a good game. We don't agree. Guess what? My players are having loads of fun. I could run a campaign every night of the week if I wanted to. So we are doing it right. I can only assume that you and your players are having fun as well playing the way you are playing. If so, then you are doing it right. We are arguing about entertainment.


    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    Second, Gygax and Arneson both used magic items as a balancing mechanic. If you look at the 1E DMG the magic items table is not just weighted towards magic weapons, but roughly 60% of all magic weapons were swords which the fighter could use and the cleric couldn't. Also swords reached +5, most weapons reached +3. And all the intelligent weapons on the magic item table were swords, which was another huge boost in power for the fighters. (3.0 of course proceeded to flush all this and the most accessible magic items in that game were scrolls, while you could get about three wands of cure light wounds for the cost of a single +1 sword).
    Again this is off topic. I am not going to justify my tastes. They are my tastes and they are what I like. I don't care if you don't like them. Good for you. And I really don't care if you play differently. How does that affect me? I asked a simple question on how to avoid mechanics that are objectionable to ME. That is all we need to know for this thread. It's intent is not to rehash all of the edition wars. You guys (or others like you of course not you specifically) tried for years (LITERALLY) to convince me my tastes were wrong. Didn't work. Can we agree to just let that go? If you don't want to help out someone like me then I suggest a variety of other threads you can peruse.

    SO.... let's all stay on topic. How to find/fix/houserule/etc.. various fantasy games to avoid these mechanics I do not prefer.
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  3. #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    Have you looked into any of my TTRPG recommendations yet?

    I also have another: Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures. It combines Basic/1e OSR and more contemporary game design.
    The game may have some interesting mechanics but creating the world is something I enjoy doing for my campaigns. It seems like it's trying to make world creation unnecessary. It has a price so I didn't buy it just to look but what sort of modern mechanics does it have?

  4. #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    [

    The problem is that without understanding what was meant by metagamey you can not give good recommendations. And there are people with Emerikol's tastes who are a whole lot more flexible than Emerikol - for example (a) they don't care what everyone else at the table does as long as they don't themselves need to use metagame mechanics, (b) they are fine with WoD-style quintessence mechanics, blood pools, or even willpower, or even the (a+b) combination where they are fine with Fate style mechanics as long as someone points out to them that for their character they can use stamina, willpower, or blood pools as a physical representation of fate points.

    If I were to recommend the game I can think of with the fewest metagame mechanics I'd start out by recommending Apocalypse World - but I'm almost certain that it would be anathema to Emerikol on the grounds that it has a different player/GM relationship from the one he likes, and especially a different relationship between the GM and the world and it allows for player choice in how they approach the world in a way historic D&D doesn't but that is entirely in line with the way people can decide to approach the world.

    And where I'd start for Emerikol? Almost any game from the 80s from GURPS to Call of Cthulhu, plus many many games with those design sensibilities including WoIN, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4e, Starfinder, and most of the OSR. They aren't hard to find.
    You would be right about Apocalypse World. What amazes me is that a game where the players make up the world is so far from where I am at playstyle wise. How is that not metagame? The characters obviously aren't making up the world as they go. To the best of my ability, I'd like for the players to be inside their characters heads and seeing through their characters eyes. Obviously, we can only achieve that to a degree. So the DM occasionally says things which the player has to translate to the character before acting as that character. Information like Hit Points etc.. are there so the player can act as the character because otherwise the player won't know enough to be in the characters shoes. So when you are down 50% of your hit points (whatever that means to you) it definitely means you are half way to death. You are beginning to lose. That is character knowledge. The player takes the raw number and translates it to the character. Then the player acts as the character.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arilyn View Post
    This wasn't really supposed to be a discussion of what is or isn't metagaming. Emerikol was quite clear that he wasn't looking for a fight, just suggestions on games that might fit his preference. I mean, I kinda get it. I wanted to leap in and defend my preferred "meta-gamey" games too, and I think I might have hit xp on some Fate defender posts, but I think it's pretty clear on what was asked. I don't agree with Emerikol on his definition of metagame, and we play a very different kind of game, but I'm having no trouble understanding what kind of game he's looking for. So...
    1. WOIN
    2. AGE
    3. Castles and Crusades
    4.Runequest
    5.Warhammer(earlier edition)
    6. The Warhammer clone that I can't remember title of
    7. Lamentations of the Flame Princess
    8. Legend of the Five Rings (pre Fantasy Flight)
    Aldarc' s suggestion of Beyond the Wall is good one too.
    Most of the retroclones do the job. I bought N.E.W. and have been reading the pdf while I wait for the book to arrive. I like the system a lot but it has quite a few objectionable mechanics. Morrus said it was about the same as 5e D&D in that way. Fortunately, I feel like WOIN is a lot more component-tized so I may run a sci-fi campaign using that system. I'll just house rule all the stuff involving luck dice and daily powers. I fear on the skill feats that Pf2e will go this route too.

    I own a lot of Castles and Crusades stuff so I know about that system. I like it but don't love it. I like a systematic design better than a hardcoded one. So feat slots are better than class powers. etc... WOIN is strong in this area.

    I own Dungeon Crawl Classics (and a zillion of their modules). DCC just tried too hard to make magic more dangerous. Still it has a lot of good ideas in it.

    I own Hackmaster 2e. There are things I like about this game but it's way too slow moving combat wise. My group wouldn't like it. I do like that the weapon you use moves you down the initiative track.
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  6. #176
    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    Well I keep using different names in an attempt to keep the peace. There is a class of mechanic, name it what you will (and it has nothing to do with 80's games of necessity).
    It has nothing out of necessity to do with 80s games. It has everything observationally to do with 80s RPGs.

    I think you'd likely be unhappy and end up making everyone else unhappy with your discontent.
    Not everyone is you. I'd probably be quite happy playing a wizard in your game who came from across the sea. I wouldn't be happy playing a fighter in your game.

    But these things I find objectionable are just as objectionable when done with a different character than mine.
    To me this makes as much sense as a blanket statement as "the food I find objectionable I find objectionable no matter whether it is on my plate or the plate of someone else at the restaurant".

    If I am playing a fighter with an actual brain who paces himself between combats, who thinks, and works on outmaneuvering his opponents this interferes with your having fun because you, in your lack of understanding how real world athletes and warriors actually work think that my making in character decisions is somehow objectionable just because you don't think people ever pace themselves in athletic events.

    To me it's no skin off my nose if you want to play a fighter like a complete dunce at the area they are supposed to be focussed on. What he does is believable and if we are going out for a group meal I don't care what is on your plate as long as it stays on your plate even if it is just tofu and ramen. I don't have to think about things that way. And what reaches the gaming table is workable.

    When everyone in your group comes up with a really great name except for one guy who calls himself "Bob", what is your reaction? Doesn't his lack of commitment to the type of game bother you? Now if it's intended to be a comedy that is fine. I don't tend to play those types of games.
    That depends. If the game is a Shadowrun game and someone decides to call themselves Bob that's fine if it fits with the character. But the reason I'm harping on about the fighter is that in Middle Earth terms you are reacting to someone who went out and bought a Tolkein dictionary and picked the third most common Elven name just because you have problems pronouncing it and don't like it.

    Realize though that many people played 1e, 2e, and 3e without feeling like the fighter was overshadowed.
    And many others didn't, and more still dropped after trying the fighter. Also there was a difference between those different fighters, in part due to the combat scheme.

    You here are saying "Because some people liked the classic fighter no one is ever allowed to play any other interpretation of the fighter as an archetype." I'm saying "Some people like the simple fighter. Others find it cripplingly anti-immersive because the way you need to think for one is nothing like an actual fighter. And a third group of people like it because it's anti-immersive with no thought required and you can just smash things. That doesn't mean a 'simple mechanics fighter' should be banned. It means that other options should be available."

    You like a certain style of play and you have certain views on what makes a good game.
    I like quite a lot of styles of play from classic pawn play dungeon crawling to complete metagame heavy collaborative storytelling to immersed improv-with-dice.

    What I am pointing out is that you personally can not stand someone having what you consider BadWrongFun by making decisions that real people in the situation would make - and indeed in your own words you find people having an understanding of the world different to yours to be "objectionable". This is where I have a serious disagreement with you. First that your understanding of the world is just plain wrong. Second that you find that other people having a different understanding from you to be "objectionable".

    SO.... let's all stay on topic. How to find/fix/houserule/etc.. various fantasy games to avoid these mechanics I do not prefer.
    And one answer to this is to realise how arbitrary your preferences are and to not sweat the small stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    You would be right about Apocalypse World. What amazes me is that a game where the players make up the world is so far from where I am at playstyle wise. How is that not metagame? The characters obviously aren't making up the world as they go.
    Because the players making large chunks of the world up in Apocalypse World happens during character creation. After character creation is done the players see the world through their character's eyes, respond in character, and you trigger a dice roll when someone tries to do something in character that triggers a roll.

    In character creation in D&D you put down on your character sheet your fighter's stats, feats, and equipment - and doing so is pure metagame. In character creation in Apocalypse World if you are playing a Chopper you put down details about your character's stats and equipment - and also details about your Chopper's biker gang including what its strengths and weaknesses and general aesthetic are, and the names of your chief lieutenants and what it's most likely to do if you can't keep it under control. In neither character creation are you in character - it's just that Apocalypse World's is a bit more expansive and fits the character into the setting.

    After character creation your Chopper's biker gang is entirely made up of unruly NPCs who consider you their leader for as long as you can keep them in line. You aren't making the world up as you go - you just built a lot of aspects of the local environment when you all created characters.
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  7. #177
    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    SO.... let's all stay on topic. How to find/fix/houserule/etc.. various fantasy games to avoid these mechanics I do not prefer.
    You said 3.5 did not suffer from this class of mechanics that cannot be named.

    With Pathfinder 3.5 has had the longest publication history. The most books published. The most support of any Pencil & Paper RPG ever. If it works for you, you need nothing else.

    Pathfinder 2 should work for you also.

    The only complaint with 5e is Hit Dice, Inspiration, and a couple fighter things.
    You're the DM, you can just get rid of them.

    You don't need any help or advice to figure that out.

    So why are you posting this at all. When you also complain you've done so many times before. And that you were attacked for it.

    It sounds like that's what you want. To be attacked.

    You have everything you say you want from a game. Always have.

    Do you just need to be attacked for it. To stop feeling guilty for all that privilege.

  8. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    The game may have some interesting mechanics but creating the world is something I enjoy doing for my campaigns. It seems like it's trying to make world creation unnecessary.
    My take-away reading was the opposite here, though we likely refer to the same phenomenon. For me, this system makes world creation necessary - as in the process necessarily transpires - because it partially happens through the character creation process via playbooks. The major strength of this system is that it 1) alleviates some of the world-creation process from the GM, 2) it connects PCs to other PCs and NPCs through character creation, and 3) this process can also be used for the purpose of adventure creation in scenario packs. I get that some grognard GMs may buckle at this idea - "I am perfect GM worldbuilder and I have perfect group. We were doing this already! So this system is stupid." - but I have found that it makes for interesting fun from the perspective of discovery from the part of the GM.

    You can still make the world or setting, but the character creation process helps plug characters into that fairly easily. You are simply building around a tavern, which could be in a village or city. The players will create an NPC or location or two. And the GM will mostly be filling out the rest. So unless you are an autocratic control freak, then you are effectively losing minimal control over world creation.

    It has a price so I didn't buy it just to look but what sort of modern mechanics does it have?
    It has a price of $8 for the pdf on DriveThruRPG (and Further Afield at $5) plus a lot of free or pay-what-you-want content so it's far from a steep entry point.

    I would say that the use of Playbooks is the big modern innovator. Though they are implemented differently in BtW from Powered by the Apocalypse-inspired games (e.g., Dungeon World, Blades in the Dark) the playbooks are mostly about providing players with an easy-access character concept who is not just a pre-gen. Your rolls expand your backstory and stats at the same time. So it is OSR "roll to discover your character" meets New School "plug-n-play".

    But the playbooks are optional. (And this point also applies to your earlier bit on world creation.) There are rules for just rolling stats and sticking with the basic classes as written. So you can stick with the game-as-written but also take out everything else you don't like. There are also rules for using the 3e+ three saving throws instead. Super hackable game.

    Freeform Skill System: There is not a set skill list. Players can pick their own "skills." Skills and ability checks operate as roll-under ability score to succeed, with skills raising your circumstantial ability score by +2 or +4 when making the relevant check. Actually most d20 mechanics are roll-under-ability score except saving throws and attack rolls.

    Someone on the BtW Google+ community also made a "Black Hack" of BtW which simplifies the system even more, such as turning the five saving throws and attack rolls into simple roll-under ability checks, but it also uses advantage/disadvantage mechanics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    You would be right about Apocalypse World. What amazes me is that a game where the players make up the world is so far from where I am at playstyle wise. How is that not metagame? The characters obviously aren't making up the world as they go.
    It's as metagame as creating a new character with a backstory or leveling up in D&D. It mostly happens at character creation or between sessions. It is the GM who narrates the framing of scenes and the world with the players reacting. If something does not exist in the world, then the GM can say "no, that doesn't exist" or "no, that's not possible."

    In contrast, players can make up stuff about the world in Fate during play, but IME this mostly amounts to the players invoking a character aspect and being like "I know a guy from my time as part of [my aspect here]," "I know a way into this place because my time [insert aspect here]," or "Didn't you know? I learned to speak this language due to [aspect]." But I find that this process mostly happens in a character-facing way that does not come across as metagaming in the context of play. It's about the player asserting who their character is in the world and the character being proactive in the world.

    Let's take for example "I know a guy." How would this be potentially handled outside of Fate? The GM will likely say something akin to "you have not established knowing this person in your backstory, so they do not exist." The GM may also say, "We can discuss your backstory outside of play and decide then (but no)." Or the player may not be the one saying it, but the GM just tells the player, "you know a guy," which would be railroading the PCs to a set NPC. Or the PC may even say, "Yeah, but why or how do I know that guy? I never established that with you either." This can be absolutely frustrating from a player perspective because in their own head space of who the character is and their backstory, they absolutely would "know a guy for that" or have someone they could turn to in the world. This is often a roadblock I have witnessed that takes the player out of their character immersion.

    But here is the thing that I like about the Fate system here as a GM: 1) the player characters are being proactive in the world; 2) the characters are roleplaying and establishing their identity; 3) the players have just created a NPC that expands the world, 4) the players may have created that NPC through roleplaying, but that NPC is now mine to control. This aside is not too relevant to your point, but I do enjoy talking about Fate.
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  9. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Serious View Post
    You said 3.5 did not suffer from this class of mechanics that cannot be named.

    With Pathfinder 3.5 has had the longest publication history. The most books published. The most support of any Pencil & Paper RPG ever. If it works for you, you need nothing else.

    Pathfinder 2 should work for you also.

    The only complaint with 5e is Hit Dice, Inspiration, and a couple fighter things.
    You're the DM, you can just get rid of them.

    You don't need any help or advice to figure that out.

    So why are you posting this at all. When you also complain you've done so many times before. And that you were attacked for it.

    It sounds like that's what you want. To be attacked.

    You have everything you say you want from a game. Always have.

    Do you just need to be attacked for it. To stop feeling guilty for all that privilege.
    I was mostly wanting to discuss specific approaches. Bawylie's post above on his solution to the problem would be the sort of post that is helpful to the conversation. Yes, I can do anything practically as GM. I also realize that other ideas might surface by having a discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    My take-away reading was the opposite here, though we likely refer to the same phenomenon. For me, this system makes world creation necessary - as in the process necessarily transpires - because it partially happens through the character creation process via playbooks. The major strength of this system is that it 1) alleviates some of the world-creation process from the GM, 2) it connects PCs to other PCs and NPCs through character creation, and 3) this process can also be used for the purpose of adventure creation in scenario packs. I get that some grognard GMs may buckle at this idea - "I am perfect GM worldbuilder and I have perfect group. We were doing this already! So this system is stupid." - but I have found that it makes for interesting fun from the perspective of discovery from the part of the GM.
    It's hard for me to comment greatly on the details of a system I have not read. I am though not at all averse to games that allow you to build a character history. Though of course that "generic" history has to be fit into the specifics of the campaign world. WOIN does this pretty well. You might be a wizards apprentice as your origin but which wizard and where still has to be decided in game.


    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    It has a price of $8 for the pdf on DriveThruRPG (and Further Afield at $5) plus a lot of free or pay-what-you-want content so it's far from a steep entry point.
    I didn't mean to imply it was too expensive. I was just saying I wasn't going at this very moment to check it out. I just sunk some cash into WOIN but I will definitely consider this game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    It's as metagame as creating a new character with a backstory or leveling up in D&D. It mostly happens at character creation or between sessions. It is the GM who narrates the framing of scenes and the world with the players reacting. If something does not exist in the world, then the GM can say "no, that doesn't exist" or "no, that's not possible."
    I don't consider character creation to be "play" time. I know that it is metagame. A character couldn't "think" about the creation of his attributes since he is born that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    In contrast, players can make up stuff about the world in Fate during play, but IME this mostly amounts to the players invoking a character aspect and being like "I know a guy from my time as part of [my aspect here]," "I know a way into this place because my time [insert aspect here]," or "Didn't you know? I learned to speak this language due to [aspect]." But I find that this process mostly happens in a character-facing way that does not come across as metagaming in the context of play. It's about the player asserting who their character is in the world and the character being proactive in the world.
    Yes this sort of stuff is metagame for me. I have only briefly looked at Dungeon World. I think I went to a seminar at Gen Con one time. So I thought Dungeon World allowed players to do that sort of stuff but I look at a lot of games so I might be off.


    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    Let's take for example "I know a guy." How would this be potentially handled outside of Fate? The GM will likely say something akin to "you have not established knowing this person in your backstory, so they do not exist." The GM may also say, "We can discuss your backstory outside of play and decide then (but no)." Or the player may not be the one saying it, but the GM just tells the player, "you know a guy," which would be railroading the PCs to a set NPC. Or the PC may even say, "Yeah, but why or how do I know that guy? I never established that with you either." This can be absolutely frustrating from a player perspective because in their own head space of who the character is and their backstory, they absolutely would "know a guy for that" or have someone they could turn to in the world. This is often a roadblock I have witnessed that takes the player out of their character immersion.
    It can be a challenge but for me I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. Whenever a PC is in his home waters, I almost always give him some NPC contacts. At character creation if it's important to the PC (and they know how I play) they will request certain types of contacts.


    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    But here is the thing that I like about the Fate system here as a GM: 1) the player characters are being proactive in the world; 2) the characters are roleplaying and establishing their identity; 3) the players have just created a NPC that expands the world, 4) the players may have created that NPC through roleplaying, but that NPC is now mine to control. This aside is not too relevant to your point, but I do enjoy talking about Fate.
    All of those are valid reasons for that style of play. In fact when listing the advantages of that playstyle, your items are often given as advantages. It's just not what I'm looking for in a game. I find FATE a very interesting game in many ways. As written it's just not for me. In fact I believe WOIN has a lot of the same advantages and a system a bit easier to house rule away the parts I don't like.

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    By Sunseeker in forum *Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
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