Gary Gygax Q&A: part VI - Page 18




What's on your mind?

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  1. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by mystra007
    Gary,

    I was looking for plans/maps of the home of the members of the old Circle of Eight in Greyhawk (mordenkainen, bigby, rary, otto, otiluke, tenser, leomund, nystul, etc...). I did my research on the net and asked a few peoples, but all I found is the house of Bigby in "Treasures of Greyhawk". Then someone told me the best person to ask would be you since those were mainly your characters. I hope I will not offend you with this but I would really like some informations on this or references from published books where I could get some informations about those peoples homes/stronghold maps/traps/information, please
    Mystra, if you want a little more info on Gary's original Co8, go here: http://doomsdaygames.proboards3.com/...num=1080316336
    The material was written with Gary's help, and is based on the original incarnation of the group.
    Scott

 

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    Hi Gary,

    I am pleased to report that GAMA likes my essay. David Millians had this to say about my essay:
    I like. I like very much! You speak so well and with such clarity. I wish everyone could read it.
    My professor said it was very original in any On-line class she had taught. Yadda-yadda. If GAMA could publish it as a "Games for Education" pamphlet, we may see a small jump of the Young buying RPGs. If my essay is as well recieved as I hope it will be, we may see a stronger demand for published adventures. (HOPING HOPING HOPING!)

    At least my efforts are going to be increased. I am planning a Campaign Setting based on the Roman Invasion of Britain so that Gamers can see the foundations of the Arthurian Saga. That is my brother's idea, he's an Expert on Roman Britain. Go figure.

    If we can get RPGs to be used in the Schools again . . . :\
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    If you live in Salt Lake City, I'm starting up a live Eberron game. Check this link on the Wizards Community site. You can also check here.

  • #173
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    Sir Elton,

    You did a fine essay indeed. What you suggest regarding module demand and new players is a logical result if there is broad exposure of your article. As I mentioned to you, I was planning for TSR to create and distribute special educational modules for classroom instructors back in the early 1980s when the Blume brothers killed the idea just before launch. It still grates on me...

    Cheers,
    Gary

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Elton
    I am pleased to report that GAMA likes my essay.
    Is this essay available online?

  • #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathal
    Is this essay available online?
    No. Not yet. I posted the roughy here, but when the Final is available online, is pretty much up to GAMA. I hope they publish it very soon so that they can distribute it at Origins this year.
    Last edited by Sir Elton; Saturday, 27th March, 2004 at 04:28 PM.
    Civil Servant.


    The Greek New World: An excercise in World Building.

    If you live in Salt Lake City, I'm starting up a live Eberron game. Check this link on the Wizards Community site. You can also check here.

  • #176
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    AC vs HP

    Mr. Gygax, a question regarding a fundamental of D&D that has always weighed heavy in my mind (and if it's not one you want to tackle, I understand :P).

    I have always been curious as to why the apparent duplicity of Armorclass and Hitpoints exist. On the one hand we have Armorclass, a score which represents the difficulty in striking a given target with a weapon. This score is checked by an attack roll made by a given attacker, and is purly based on that character's skill (class level, etc). The Attack Roll vs Armorclass is an absolute test with only two conditional outcomes; success and failure. While the nature of this strike may be abstract in its description, the success/failure atribute is concrete.
    On the other hand, we have Hitpoints. As I understand it, HPs are an abstract method of tracking and recording the wounds that a given target recieves. It is left in the hands of the DM and players alike to describe the damage that a target receives, be it a greavous wound (because a substantial portion of a character's HPs have been depleted) or mearly exaustion as the result of a close call (because only a minor fraction have been lost). As a result, this abstraction allows for the wonderful cimematic moments abound in motion pictures to come to life in a game; moments where long, drawn out sword fights take place with no one being scratched, until that last moment when the final blow is delivered. The nature of this, of course, is purely description.

    Which brings me to my question; with all of these facts as they are, why are both of these methods nessessary inorder to reach the desired effect in a D&D game? It seems to me if someone can make an attack roll and succeed in hiting a target's armorclass, yet in a descriptive capacity "not strike" a target (or whatever else description, DM, and players deem appropriate), that the need for attack roll vs armorclass doesn't really exist. If a system allowed for just weapon damage vs hitpoints, it would allow for the effect without the extra layer of needless checking.

    I apologize if my question seems like I'm ranting, or rail-roading you, and I certainly give you my thanks in advance for any insight into what the original purposes were for those systems when they were first being devised. Perhaps you could even give your opinion as to how these systems have evolved beyond your control.

    Thank you, again.

    -Jesse "Onyx" Withrow

  • #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onyx
    Mr. Gygax, a question regarding a fundamental of D&D that has always weighed heavy in my mind (and if it's not one you want to tackle, I understand :P).
    Heh, Onyx...

    You surely do dramatize things

    This applies only to OAD&D. Later forms of the D&D game I am not responsible for.

    Now I think you mean duplication, not duplicity, in the two combat factors you are so concerned with, AC and HP. If you think having both is trickery, well, what can I say other than all games are based on the fallacious, they are not real.

    Anyway, on to the basic assumptions employed in those two factors.

    AC is the measure of how difficult it is to make an effective attack on a target subject. One might broaden it by including dodging and parrying, but those are subsumed in the single number, as is indicated by the addition of Dex bonus, thus obviating the need for a lot of additional adjustments and dice rolling. The game is not a combat simulation, after all.

    Hit points for characters are a combination of actual physical health and the character's skill in avoiding serious harm from attacks aimed at him that actually hit. This is a further measure of the defender's increasing ability to slip blows and dodge, as mentioned above in regards AC. While AC increases mainly by the wearing of superior protectionm HPs increase with the character's accumulating experience in combat reflected by level increase.

    In combination the two give a base protection and survivability for the beginning character and allow that base to increase as the character increases in experience. It does not pretend to realism, but it does reflect the effects of increasing skill in a relatively accurate manner while avoiding tedious simulation-oriented considerations and endless dice rolling.

    As someone who has designed a number of military miniatures rules sets, I could have made combat in the OAD&D game far more complex, including all manner of considerations for footing, elevation of the opponents, capacity to dodge, parrying skill, opponents using natural weapons, etc. Knowing that the game was not all about combat, I skipped as much of that as I could by having the main factors subsume lessers, ignoring the rest. It is a role-playing exercise where all manner of other game considerations come into play, not just fighting.

    Oh, least I forget, when magic is mixed into the formula, getting anything vaguely resembling reality becomes wholly problematical

    Cheers,
    Gary

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    Perhaps it's true.

    Heh, Onyx...

    You surely do dramatize things
    Yes, I suppose it's true. :P

    At any rate, I certainly didn't think that the inclusion of both AC & HP was trickery or the like. I was just trying to understand if the common definitions of both, and to a greater extent, if your intentions for both were as I understood them.

    It's also true that I understand a system that is simple is far more preferable to a system that is ultra realistic (and anyone who has played Rolemaster or its ilk can appreciate that!). The hope is ultimately for as simple, and yet as realistic a system as can be produced. I believe that D&D (as opposed to some systems I have seen) is a step in that direction.

    Again, I would like to thank you for taking the time to address my question. It is an honor to have such an opportunity extended to me.

    -Jesse "Onyx" Withrow

  • #179
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    Hi Jesse,

    I was thinking of how were in a DM-like role when you posed the questions, and that's why I mentioned the dramatic aspect.

    No matter what a designer does in regard to managing combat, there is going to be a number of players who dislike it. With some systems it's the majority of gamers, with others it's a minority of some size, small or large. In all cases each system will have its stalwart champions and vocal opponents. Rest assured that I was not in defensive mode when i read and responded to you. What I posted was simply the straight-forward reasoning I used in arriving at the system that I did, and why I did so.

    In the Lejendary Adventure game I used a different method, but one that is also streamlined and not a step-by-step attempt to re-inact hand-to-hand combat with weapons generally of the medieval period. As i mentioned before, when creatures with natural weapons are thrown into such a calculation, the variables one needs to consider make it a nigh impossible exercise. Magical elements compound the difficulties even further.

    If you devise a fast-paced combat system that includes the major elements of actual fighting in armor with the various weapons usual, including monsters and magical attacks and defenses, hats off, and I think the gamers will beat a path to your door

    Cheers,
    Gary

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    Combat systems

    Let me first say, it's an honor to have a chance to chat with you Mr Gygax.

    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    In the Lejendary Adventure game I used a different method, but one that is also streamlined and not a step-by-step attempt to re-inact hand-to-hand combat with weapons generally of the medieval period. As i mentioned before, when creatures with natural weapons are thrown into such a calculation, the variables one needs to consider make it a nigh impossible exercise. Magical elements compound the difficulties even further.

    If you devise a fast-paced combat system that includes the major elements of actual fighting in armor with the various weapons usual, including monsters and magical attacks and defenses, hats off, and I think the gamers will beat a path to your door
    Have you ever seen "The Riddle of Steel"? I think it is a step in that direction, although any time you increase realism that much you run the risk of increasingly lethality to the degree that it changes the gaming experience in ways some people wont like. TROS is fast and realistic, but it's also very deadly. People who want to hold on to their characters can't fight anywhere near as often as they do in D&D.

    This idea of realism is something I have always struggled with since the very first time I played D&D in summer camp back in the 70's (I embarassed to say how far back!)

    I've got a lot of experience doing medieval fencing and this has gradually seeped into the way I look at gaming. I always had this theory that D&D was kind of at the laymans state of the art for when it was first designed, seemingly with data that came from the wargaming miniatures insustry. You obviously did a lot of serious research well into the development of the DMG... your treatise on Polearms from the original UA is still one of the best resources available on the internet ( I recently posted it to the forum of a very serious Historical European Martial Arts organization and they were amazed)

    ...anyway, I digress. I always had this theory that D&D was at a fairly high level of historical accuracy for it's time, and that since then, people basically borrowed from D&D or from hollywood or from fantasy novels, with each new generation of role playing game, (and eventually CRPG's and LARPs), while simultaneously, people outside of RPG's learned more and more about real period warfare (even though historical fighting isn't precisely the same as that in a fantasy setting) to such a degree that there ended up being this big gap, to where today hard core medieval fencing enthusiasts and weapon nuts are so very critical of any RPG. They site the 15 lb swords, seemingly nonexistant armor types, impossible double weapons and etc.

    I'm kind of in the middle, I really like RPG's and love to tinker with them, I find them at their hyperbolic best fascinating insights into the human condition (like any simulation) and certainly good fun when you have a decent group of people together.

    Anyway, I was wondering what you thought of specific ideas such as giving reach advantages to long weapons, allowing the defensive characteristics of weapons to come into play, allowing combattants to choose between aggressive, neutral, or defensive postures, giving armor an ablative or absorbing ability, and etc., with the dilemma of the natural weapons dealt with by some sort of close combat ("grappling", in current D&D parlance) mode...

    As to realism and survivability, I think you can always find good mechanics if one looks closely at real life. There is some reason why so many remarkable "heroic" indivudals from history survived so many battles and adventrues. One of the things they seem to be learning just very recently in a lot of the Historical fencing groups is just exactly how effective armor really was. Rivited mail, for example, worn with a padded coat, seems able to endure attacks from most period weapons, including longbows and lances. I imagine thats why people tended to wear the stuff! Nor was it as heavy and bulky as people thought, as you know.

    Just a few thoughts, I'm not dogmatic about it like some people, I'd be fascinated to hear what you think.

    DB
    Last edited by Drifter Bob; Sunday, 28th March, 2004 at 02:17 AM.
    "As for the pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs."

    -Henri David Thoreau

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