A discussion of metagame concepts in game design - Page 21
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  1. #201
    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    If it's the DM's map then by definition it cannot be wrong; and whatever secret passage is being remembered has long since been collapsed and bricked over.
    This definition kinda begs the question, and I don't think that your assertion here is true.

    Attributes as in Str-Int-Wis-Dex-Con-Cha?
    Yes.

    Curious: what would you replace these with?
    Does it matter? The point is not those.

    If you were forced to create attributes that were not the Big Six (or the Big Six renamed), what attributes would you create or use? (So no "they are perfect as they" are non-answers.)

  2. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    They all drop D&D-style casting, which promotes metagame thinking (as in, "What spell load-out do I probably need to beat this bit of this GM's dungeon?").
    As an aside, one simple way to de-meta this a bit yet remain within the D&D framework is to do away with spell pre-memorization and make all casters spontaneous a la the 3e Sorcerer. You've still got a limited number of slots per level, but with each of those slots you can cast any spell of that level you have access to (a cleric/mage multiclass would have two parallel tracks, one for each side) and this does away with having to worry about the load-out question.

    They all drop XP-from-gold
    This can also easily be done in 1e while staying within the D&D framework, and everything 2e and onwards made it official.

    There were, at the same time, D&D players who were proposing different approaches to XP, and defending hp and AC as "realistic" or "simulationist" - which often involved adopting different rules for falling damage, and sometimes for fireball damage also (see eg Roger Musson's "How to Lose Hit Points and Survive" in a fairly early number of White Dward).

    I am a long-time RM player who has also played plenty of Traveller, RQ and other metagame free systems. I look at, say, AD&D or 3E and cannot see how anyone can see those as metagame free except by dint of familiarity (as @Neonchameleon suggested) - eg the action economy in 3E is obviously metagame, and so is hp as soaking falling damage or dragon's breath in all of them (the parrying rationale only makes sense of a fairly narrow category of melee combat).
    3e D&D is certainly not meta-free; in fact I found it if anything more meta than 1e during the run of play.

    Falling damage has never worked right. Probably never will, for all that.

    Lanefan

  3. #203
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    Neat trick. I ask a question which you answer thus:
    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    Does it matter? The point is not those.
    And then having evaded any kind of real answer, in the next sentence you turn around and ask me the very same question in different words:

    If you were forced to create attributes that were not the Big Six (or the Big Six renamed), what attributes would you create or use? (So no "they are perfect as they" are non-answers.)
    Hmmm...

    There's certain aspects of a character - particularly the physical ones - that kinda need to be mechanically represented somehow: raw muscle power, endurance, short-term (sprint) and long-term (marathon) stamina, body agility or co-ordination (seen in things like dancing, gymnastics, etc.), manual dexterity (fiddly use of hands, feet, etc.), and appearance/attractiveness are but some. D&D covers these with Str Con Dex and a part of Cha, but it's clunky.

    Then there's the non-physical aspects of a character, mechanical representation of at least some of which also comes in handy: willpower, learning comprehension, info retention, memory capacity and-or accuracy, cognitive processing (the ability to get C out of A plus B), spiritual fortitude (or, resiliency of the soul), judgment, and - for lack of a better word - radiance. D&D has Int, Wis and some of Cha for these; again vaguely functional but clunky.

    So, that's about 15 "attributes" - 7 physical and 8 non-physical - which is probably too many to be viable. A few can easily be conjoined; for example learning comprehension, info retention and memory can be concatenated to two: learning prowess and memory. But you're still going to end up with twelve or so:

    Strength: raw muscle power, carrying capacity, bench press
    Short-term stamina: how well you stand up under short bursts of high exertion e.g. a sprint or short martial combat
    Long-term stamina: how well you stand up to prolonged exertion e.g. a marathon or a lengthy climb (also plays into disease and poison resistance)
    Endurance: how much abuse or pain can your body handle before it gives out; also how fragile are your bones, joints, etc.
    Co-ordination: how clumsy or dextrous are you (this could be broken down into full-body and small-scale co-ordination if desired, I've combined them here)
    Appearance: how physically attractive and-or sexy are you, includes body build/type as well as face

    Comprehension: how well and how fast do you learn new things, also how quickly do you re-learn things once known but forgotten
    Memory: how well do you remember things, and for how long, and with what accuracy
    Cognitive processing: how good are you at synthesizing information, solving problems, reaching conclusions from data or evidence given, finding patterns or trends
    Willpower: how determined (or stubborn!) are you, also a measure of mental resistance to influence
    Spiritual fortitude: how strong and-or resilient is your soul or spirit (highly relevant (but often overlooked) in games where revival from the dead and-or spiritual travel may occur)
    Radiance: how much personal magnetism do you exude, also how persuasive or captivating are you

    I intentionally left out judgment as this would normally be reflected in a characters role-played personality rather than mechanical stats.

    Very conveniently, there's now 12 instead of 6. Intentional? Not really, but I like that it worked out that way. Even better is they remain evenly divided between physical and non-physical - 6 each - though I'm very open to re-jigging of the physical ones. How these would be rolled up during character generation is a topic best left for another time...

    And note the above names are more intened for clarity than in-game use; better ones can be found for about half of them.

    So, I've given my attempt at an answer - how 'bout you?

    Lanefan
    Last edited by Lanefan; Wednesday, 11th July, 2018 at 10:20 AM.
    XP Aldarc gave XP for this post

  4. #204
    On Attributes: the attributes in In a Wicked Age are interesting:

    * Covertly
    * Direclty
    * For myself
    * For others
    * With love
    * With violence

    These are rated with dice, and every action uses two of them for its resolution.
    XP Jhaelen, Nytmare gave XP for this post

  5. #205
    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    Neat trick. I ask a question which you answer thus:
    And then having evaded any kind of real answer, in the next sentence you turn around and ask me the very same question in different words:

    So, I've given my attempt at an answer - how 'bout you?
    Truth of the matter is that I do not know what new attributes I would create, because I also think such things would depend on my design goals for the system, and I have not created a new system yet. I would prefer attributes/abilities with distinct and clear non-overlapping functionality, and I agree with Angry DM that this is where D&D's Big Six fails hard. (This is also part of my dissatisfaction with some of Dungeon World's conservative design elements.) There are a lot of arguments, for example, about the distinctions between Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Both Charisma and Wisdom claim purview over willpower or even faith. These distinctions have changed in D&D. They are not set. And I don't think that it is any real perfection or marvel of design that we keep the Big Six but purely because we are trained by the familiarity of tradition. The nature of a stat seems to shift depending upon the needs of the metagame design(er).

    If I was designing an OSR style system, I would prefer aiming for simplicity for ease of play. You would want to reduce explanation of what the attributes are so you can jump into character creation and gameplay. Probably either no skills (e.g., Black Hack) or no formal skill list (e.g., Beyond the Wall). I am intrigued by using a simple roll-under-attribute method that would be unified for attacks/defense, skills, and saving throws.

    The question thereby becomes how many attributes are desired and what you would seek to emulate through the game mechanics of attributes. So you would likely need enough such that you can sufficiently differentiate characters. You provided a longer list with greater differentiation. And there are other such systems that opt to expand or "clarify" their sense of attributes: e.g., Fantasy Age (Accuracy, Communication, Constitution, Dexterity, Fighting, Intellect, Perception, Strength, Willpower) and now the new Warhammer RPG (Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill, Strength, Toughness, Initiative, Agility, Dexterity, Intelligence, Willpower, Fellowship). But what if we went the other direction? Could one potentially do this with three stats? Sure. And I find such a simplification tempting for an OSR style game if our design goals harken back to the days of basic, streamlined gaming.

    The Cypher System uses "Might, Speed, Intellect." And a few other systems also using something akin to this: e.g., "Strength, Agility, and Intelligence."

    The One Ring uses (from what I recall) "Body, Heart, Wits." We could probably also include the similar schema of "Body, Mind, and Spirit."

    Warrior, Rogue, & Mage uses... wait for it... "Warrior, Rogue, and Mage" as the ranked attributes. This profession-oriented system reminds me of the Fate game Jadepunk that has players rank the professions "Aristocrat, Engineer, Explorer, Fighter, Scholar, and Scoundrel" as skill groups / attributes.

    Firefly (Cortex system) uses "Physical, Mental, and Social." I usually lean on @pemerton's greater familiarity with Cortex for greater clarity.

    So I would possibly work with something like the above. Maybe expand it four, if I felt it would be suitable for the game design: e.g., Physical Power (Strength/Brawn), Physical Finesse (Dexterity/Agility), Mental Power (Spirit/Willpower), Mental Finesse (Wits/Intellect).

    We could even play around with this schema. Just brainstorming off-the-cuff here. You could even entertain the possibility of using this four-attribute schema for other derived stats. Okay, so maybe Physical Power plus Mental Power equals your Hit Points, or how much Resolve/Mettle you have. Or your Physical Finesse plus Mental Finesse determines your initiative. Or your Mental Finesse plus Mental Power determines your Magic potential. It really just depends on what you want. Mix and match as desired.

    So to answer your question, possibly 3-4 attributes.
    Last edited by Aldarc; Wednesday, 11th July, 2018 at 01:45 PM.

  6. #206
    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    This definition kinda begs the question, and I don't think that your assertion here is true.

    Yes.

    Does it matter? The point is not those.

    If you were forced to create attributes that were not the Big Six (or the Big Six renamed), what attributes would you create or use? (So no "they are perfect as they" are non-answers.)
    Just touching on the last bit...

    I would tend to use triads of stats - power, finesse, toughness - for each area being started- physical, mental, social as baseline. Could add more triads for specialties such as magic, psionics, faith, cybernetics etc depending on genre.

    Gives each clear divisions and trade-offs to then apply as part of a test mechanic.
    XP Aldarc gave XP for this post

  7. #207
    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    As an aside, one simple way to de-meta this a bit yet remain within the D&D framework is to do away with spell pre-memorization and make all casters spontaneous a la the 3e Sorcerer. You've still got a limited number of slots per level, but with each of those slots you can cast any spell of that level you have access to (a cleric/mage multiclass would have two parallel tracks, one for each side) and this does away with having to worry about the load-out question.

    This can also easily be done in 1e while staying within the D&D framework, and everything 2e and onwards made it official.

    3e D&D is certainly not meta-free; in fact I found it if anything more meta than 1e during the run of play.

    Falling damage has never worked right. Probably never will, for all that.

    Lanefan
    As an alternative, the preparation scheme could be made more exemplar if you took it a step further back. Preparing the spell *is* casting it into some form of battery. You could have it be holy symbols or talismans or fetishes or any other prop or gimmick. So like editions of old, your actual casting options are pre-set when you prepare.

    Goes back to spontaneous having few options but flexible uses in play while prepares have tons of options but pick in advance. (Option for changing in short rest for some all to mitigate.)

    To my mind if the original model wasn't "prep and store in head" but "ritual cast into fetish(es)/gimmick(s)" it would have been more thematic and palatable - not to mention setting material comps in different light.

  8. #208
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5ekyu View Post
    As an alternative, the preparation scheme could be made more exemplar if you took it a step further back. Preparing the spell *is* casting it into some form of battery. You could have it be holy symbols or talismans or fetishes or any other prop or gimmick. So like editions of old, your actual casting options are pre-set when you prepare.

    Goes back to spontaneous having few options but flexible uses in play while prepares have tons of options but pick in advance. (Option for changing in short rest for some all to mitigate.)

    To my mind if the original model wasn't "prep and store in head" but "ritual cast into fetish(es)/gimmick(s)" it would have been more thematic and palatable - not to mention setting material comps in different light.
    Fine idea, but it doesn't solve the root problem - you're still preparing ahead of time, meaning you still have to guess what's coming.

    I'd like to do away with ahead-of-time preparation altogether if possible, and have done so (with, I admit, mixed results so far) in my own game.

  9. #209
    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    Fine idea, but it doesn't solve the root problem - you're still preparing ahead of time, meaning you still have to guess what's coming.

    I'd like to do away with ahead-of-time preparation altogether if possible, and have done so (with, I admit, mixed results so far) in my own game.
    I agree it doesn't solve your problem, but to me having one caster option as limited spells known but choose on the fly and another with lots spells known but have to prepare/plan/guess ahead is a valuable differentiation, not a problem.

    To me the problem is more that if everybody has choose on demand casting and spell variety maintains such a large role, it's hard to create comparable classes with a significant difference in spells known. I feel the current offset between say sorc and wiz 5e phb is not that good at least at tiers 1-2. Can see arguments it gets better at 3-4 *if* campaign is stingy with scrolls and extra spells.

  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
    The term Schrodinger's Wounds is specifically a criticism of how 4E and 5E fail to represent HP in a consistent manner. It has little to do with the historic abstraction of HP in D&D, and everything to do with how that abstraction doesn't hold up in the face of Healing Surges and Hit Dice.

    Once you get rid of rapid natural healing, Schrodinger's Wounds would no longer apply as a criticism, since HP could go back to being treated consistently.
    Hit points have never been treated consistently. All you have to do is look at how, even in the early editions, a high-level fighter who was only down half his hit points and not really injured significantly at all might require a cure critical wound or similar higher magic to heal. Meanwhile the princess you just rescued can be brought from near-death too full with just a cure light wounds.

    Numerous threads and arguments have gone on about HP, regardless of the edition. Heck some are preserved in the early books. That's hardly the hallmark of a consistent mechanic.

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