A discussion of metagame concepts in game design - Page 6
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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    Well my feelings about Fate are definitely love/hate. I love a lot about it. People keep telling me though the game is unplayable without Fate points. I own a several Fate books. Like I said I'm a game junky. Love to analyze games.
    Yes - Fate points are pretty integral to the system. And yes, they are often used for things that are player-decision rather than character-decision, and the points do not typically appear as an in-game item or resource. You probably could produce a FATE variant where the points represent an in-game mana resource, if you really wanted to.

    I note, though, that FATE will tend to defy analysis if you don't play it, because much of the realization of the mechanic is tied to the narrative. People say that the story is something that you tell after play is resolved, and that's not really true with FATE games.
    Last edited by Umbran; Monday, 2nd July, 2018 at 06:00 AM.
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  2. #52
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    I've never been bothered with meta-game concepts in the game design of any game, or with meta gaming in general. I guess it is a sliding scale, but most of the time I don't mind my players thinking as gamers. There's nothing wrong with approaching the game like a game. Whether that means using game rules that have no real in-game explanation, or thinking about the game strategically (instead of what your character would do), it's fine.

    And on the latter: I've had situations in my campaign where a player wanted to prepare spells, but as a player he expected undead, while his character did not have any in-game reason to expect those. So I just said to him: Bring what ever spells you as a player want to bring. It's only a game, and it is okay to approach it as a game every now and then. I think this relaxed attitude of mine towards meta-gaming in general, explains why I feel equally relaxed about meta-game mechanics.

    What about you old schoolers? There is a lot to like in some of the old school games but I find them not systematic enough for me. Heck 5e probably isn't as much as I'd like. Everything is a special class rule. I do think feats as a mechanic might be better ala Pf2e. But I am also thinking they'll make some pretty awful feats as well.
    Does it really matter in regards to the metagame side of the discussion, what we call these game mechanics? Whether they be special class rules or feats, they are still special abilities that a character can unlock by leveling.

    As it just so happens, I'm currently working on a semi-realistic board game, in which the game mechanics all need to be justified by realism in regards to its subject matter, while still trying to keep the game light on rules and easy to understand (and remember). So, although there is some clear balancing being done in the rules, I try to have a logical explanation for everything, that is also internally consistent. And I find that is quite a challenge. I have done away with hit points entirely, and with armor values, or tracking ammunition. This abstraction seems to work in this game's favor, because it means there is less to keep track of, and it simulates a certain degree of deadliness in combat that is in line with the realism goal. I've basically replaced hit points, with either being wounded, not wounded, or dead.
    Last edited by Imaculata; Monday, 2nd July, 2018 at 08:53 AM.
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  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Serious View Post
    So playing a sorcerer from level one is fine. But multiclassing to sorcerer later would be an issue.

    You could just add a requirement that any bloodline be declared at character generation to deal with that.
    Well, regardless of when this happened it would not be while actually playing the character. If one of my players called me and said "I think I may want to multiclass into Sorcerer" then that would definitely be the player and not the character making that call. Right? So how do I deal with that? Well I could have the dragon blood manifest itself unexpectedly to the character and then play it from there. I admit that my groups don't do a lot of multiclassing especially the caster classes and sorcerer is not popular. My groups tend to be the big 4 and paladins.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Yes - Fate points are pretty integral to the system. And yes, they are often used for things that are player-decision rather than character-decision, and the points do not typically appear as an in-game item or resource. You probably could produce a FATE variant where the points represent an in-game mana resource, if you really wanted to.

    I note, though, that FATE will tend to defy analysis if you don't play it, because much of the realization of the mechanic is tied to the narrative. People say that the story is something that you tell after play is resolved, and that's not really true with FATE games.
    I think I like the superficial mechanics of FATE. I like the skill tree. I like the named levels of success. I love the four fudge dice. But the core of the FATE concept which is aspects, fate points, etc... I'm not as favorable towards.

    To me there is a style of play, let me call it story creation, that I'm not a fan of personally. Where the players, thinking as players, are moving their characters around with the intent of making a cool story. So they might make suboptimal choices intentionally for the good of the story.

    In my style of play, the players do things that their characters would do to win. I admit I can't enforce this absolutely but it definitely trends that way. In the undead example above, if my players knew undead were coming, my characters would too. As DM, I'd guard such information very carefully from my players if I didn't want them knowing something. I once changed every name in the original Ravenloft module so that they wouldn't realize it was a store bought module. I make a lot of my own too so they have no reason to suspect.

    The variety of ways of playing shows the flexibility of roleplaying games. I appreciate that people like a variety of ways. I do resent being told (and no one here in this thread has done this) that my way is inferior rather than just different.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imaculata View Post
    I've never been bothered with meta-game concepts in the game design of any game, or with meta gaming in general. I guess it is a sliding scale, but most of the time I don't mind my players thinking as gamers. There's nothing wrong with approaching the game like a game. Whether that means using game rules that have no real in-game explanation, or thinking about the game strategically (instead of what your character would do), it's fine.

    And on the latter: I've had situations in my campaign where a player wanted to prepare spells, but as a player he expected undead, while his character did not have any in-game reason to expect those. So I just said to him: Bring what ever spells you as a player want to bring. It's only a game, and it is okay to approach it as a game every now and then. I think this relaxed attitude of mine towards meta-gaming in general, explains why I feel equally relaxed about meta-game mechanics.
    It's understandable coming from your view of the game that these things don't bother you. I don't expect my players to be perfect angels. I as DM (see above) consider it my job to control the information my players have so that it equates to the information the characters have. It's why I like mechanics as physics and I do expect my characters to know that spells exist in the world. If there is a feat that provides a fighting maneuver I expect at least the concept to relate to in game knowledge. Power Attack for example might not be a name that is know but the fighter player knows he can take chances on defense to increase his offense. Something I think is relatable to the real world.


    Quote Originally Posted by Imaculata View Post
    Does it really matter in regards to the metagame side of the discussion, what we call these game mechanics? Whether they be special class rules or feats, they are still special abilities that a character can unlock by leveling.
    For this discussion it doesn't matter. I like flexibility though and not just for the PCs. If something is a feat, and feats are equivalent, then it's a lot easier to house rule out a feat and just ask the PC to take something different. If it's a class ability then I have to do that work myself. Not impossible but harder. Second Wind and Action Surge from above for example. How valuable are they? Are they equivalent to a feat? Better? Worse?

    And sure, I know in the history of D&D where feats are used that they've never been perfectly balanced. It still puts you in the ballpark.

    Edit: Just fixed some bad grammer that bugged me.
    Last edited by Emerikol; Monday, 2nd July, 2018 at 05:05 PM.
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  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    I think I like the superficial mechanics of FATE. I like the skill tree. I like the named levels of success. I love the four fudge dice. But the core of the FATE concept which is aspects, fate points, etc... I'm not as favorable towards.
    I am a big fan of Fate, including aspects and fate points, but I recognize that it is not for everyone. So if you just like fudge dice and skill trees, then perhaps you should look into Fudge. There is a reason those dice you love are called "fudge dice" after all.

    Buf if you enjoy game design analysis as a "gamer junky" then I would recommend reading The Book of Hanz, which is a series of fan posts on the design philosophy of Fate. I am not trying to sell you on Fate here but you may find it intriguing from a game analysis perspective.

    To me there is a style of play, let me call it story creation, that I'm not a fan of personally. Where the players, thinking as players, are moving their characters around with the intent of making a cool story. So they might make suboptimal choices intentionally for the good of the story.

    In my style of play, the players do things that their characters would do to win. I admit I can't enforce this absolutely but it definitely trends that way. In the undead example above, if my players knew undead were coming, my characters would too. As DM, I'd guard such information very carefully from my players if I didn't want them knowing something. I once changed every name in the original Ravenloft module so that they wouldn't realize it was a store bought module. I make a lot of my own too so they have no reason to suspect.
    I will just bounce off my own experiences. IME, the mentality of players "playing to win" is just another form of the conceit of metagaming. I have often observed that players are more inclined to act out-of-character and metagame when the circumstances creates dissonance between their in-game character and choices dicated by the player's "play to win" mentality. In those moments, the character becomes less of a character, and more of the player's chess piece. The player mutes, sidelines, or recalibrates the prior established character for the sake of the player's desire to win. For me one of the biggest perks of the former approach is one of immersion and verisimilitude. The characters become more real and lifelike because they have more foibles and flaws that guide their actions. This is really just to say that we have our respective different preferences.

    You may also want to consider Dungeon World (and the Powered by the Apocalypse system). It is narrative focused, as per Fate, but it has less of the metagame elements that you dislike. Rolling the dice is dictated by the GM when the player-described fiction conforms to "moves."
    Last edited by Aldarc; Monday, 2nd July, 2018 at 02:27 PM.
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  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    Not sure you qualify as "someone sympathetic to my dilemna" :-) If it doesn't bother you then it's moot anyway. And being able to tolerate it and still have fun is good enough to say it doesn't bother you. For me it's a dealbreaker.
    Well, I am sympathetic to your dilemma. And you ask me for my thoughts. I'm telling you how I dealt with it.
    See, back in the early '90s, I was you. I tried all kinds of useless contortions to explain everything "in-story" in the various systems we were playing at the time.
    It was a fools errand. Everyone else I played with didn't get it/didn't care. (more the latter, & they still don't) And however I justified stuff, no matter what side of the screen I was on? It just didn't make any difference as we still had these various player-side only game elements, still had to use them, tell the DM when they were being applied, etc.
    And I couldn't make the other players care/imagine/phrase this type of stuff the same way I was....
    But guess what? The fun somehow continued without, probably despite, my efforts.
    So after a few years or so I changed my approach to it. Went back to how I'd been doing it before I'd had the epiphany that everything should be explainable from an In-World PoV. It doesn't. Sometimes it works out that you can fit this stuff in narratively. Other times you just need to shug it off.

    As for PF2? No, I do not think it will solve anything for you concerning this. Might still be a fun game though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    I will just bounce off my own experiences. IME, the mentality of players "playing to win" is just another form of the conceit of metagaming. I have often observed that players are more inclined to act out-of-character and metagame when the circumstances creates dissonance between their in-game character and choices dicated by the player's "play to win" mentality. In those moments, the character becomes less of a character, and more of the player's chess piece. The player mutes, sidelines, or recalibrates the prior established character for the sake of the player's desire to win. For me one of the biggest perks of the former approach is one of immersion and verisimilitude. The characters become more real and lifelike because they have more foibles and flaws that guide their actions. This is really just to say that we have our respective different preferences.

    You may also want to consider Dungeon World (and the Powered by the Apocalypse system). It is narrative focused, as per Fate, but it has less of the metagame elements that you dislike. Rolling the dice is dictated by the GM when the player-described fiction conforms to "moves."
    It's probably why my PCs tend to play to type a lot. But what character doesn't want to "win"? My players play their characters with passion so there are times they take actions out of "anger" towards an enemy that are not the best. They are not Mr. Spock. They are their characters though. For me that is verisimilitude and immersion. I know you obviously feel differently. My PCs often have non-adventuring goals like creating a temple or building a fortress. Winning comes down to achieving goals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccs View Post
    Well, I am sympathetic to your dilemma. And you ask me for my thoughts. I'm telling you how I dealt with it.
    See, back in the early '90s, I was you. I tried all kinds of useless contortions to explain everything "in-story" in the various systems we were playing at the time.
    It was a fools errand. Everyone else I played with didn't get it/didn't care. (more the latter, & they still don't) And however I justified stuff, no matter what side of the screen I was on? It just didn't make any difference as we still had these various player-side only game elements, still had to use them, tell the DM when they were being applied, etc.
    And I couldn't make the other players care/imagine/phrase this type of stuff the same way I was....
    But guess what? The fun somehow continued without, probably despite, my efforts.
    So after a few years or so I changed my approach to it. Went back to how I'd been doing it before I'd had the epiphany that everything should be explainable from an In-World PoV. It doesn't. Sometimes it works out that you can fit this stuff in narratively. Other times you just need to shug it off.

    As for PF2? No, I do not think it will solve anything for you concerning this. Might still be a fun game though.
    Realize though that 1e, 2e, and 3e I played exactly this way that I want at the time. I didn't have to house rule anything in any major way. I tended to ban some classes and races but more often for the flavor of my campaign than for this reason. I guess I could just go back and play one of those editions or a retroclone of some sort. I'm sure Castles and Crusades would work. I would just like some modern elements of game design while still keeping the essential playstyle. I'm a Gygaxian playstyle guy at heart.

    Also, don't interpret every change of mind as "progress". For you looking back it was progress. That is great. I think I feel a bit stronger than you do about certain things. About others I am more tolerant. But if I was told I had one game to play and it was 5e (or 4e for that matter) as written or quit roleplaying all together, I think I'd quit. I have a lot of entertainment options. Now of course no one is giving me that dire choice. In the end, as Gygax said, the big secret is you can write your own game. So that will be where it ultimately ends if I don't find something sooner.

    I'm not as sure about Pathfinder 2e as you are. Even PF1 is a game I could play by cutting away all the objectionable elements. For one just start with the core book only. Ban a few classes that maybe did some weird things. As long as I have a game with Fighter, Rogue/Thief, Cleric, Wizard (vancian I hope) then I can play. In PF2, I believe the structure is good but the elements may be in some cases objectionable. Such a system is easier to house rule than one where the structure is not good (for me).

    It's kind of why I was so disappointed in 5e not providing a subset of the game that is usable by people like myself. Again it's a hit so not questioning their business decisions. It seems it would have been easy to do it without losing what they have though. By putting Second Wind and Action Surge at the class level instead of inside one of the paths, they made the entire class unusable by me. The Champion was my big hope and it came close. I have to think they were trying but just didn't fully grasp the issues shared by people like myself. I hope it's not because they don't care.
    Last edited by Emerikol; Monday, 2nd July, 2018 at 05:29 PM. Reason: corrected a nuance of something I said
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    I am a big fan of Fate, including aspects and fate points, but I recognize that it is not for everyone. So if you just like fudge dice and skill trees, then perhaps you should look into Fudge. There is a reason those dice you love are called "fudge dice" after all.
    Yes. I think there is a lot of potential for a game using a fudge like system but for high fantasy I'm more of a D&D guy. But for sci-fi or moderns, yeah I'd like it.

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