What is "grim and gritty" and "low magic" anyway? - Page 8




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  1. #71
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gothmog
    Running low magic is definitely different than running standard D&D, and requires a little bit of adjustment on the part of the DM. One of the first things that the DM has to realize that that 4 consecutive combats with equal CR foes WILL kill the PCs. You pretty much have to ditch the CR system and come up with encounters that will be tough and fun for the PCs based on the known strengths and weaknesses of the party. Minor skirmishes on the way to the objective are fine, but smart PCs will avoid a battle until the conditions are most favorable to them. This might mean sneaking past guards or making diversions rather than killing them. In most adventures, I usually have just 1-2 combats, with the major fight being very tough, and allowing the characters to bring out all their big guns there rather than in the preceeding encounters.
    In other words, it's not necessarily different than old style D&D in some regards. CR has become (IMO) a crutch for DMs. Depending too much on it and not actually reading over the abilites of the foes in the encounters, and judging based on that what the party can survive seem to be relatively new problems. I certainly don't recall my 1e or Basic DMs talking about problems like that.

    So, no, it's not necessarily "simple" to run a low magic campaign, but that simplicity is artificial and new-fangled anyway!

    "I realize that I am generalizing here, but, as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care." Dave Barry

 

  • #72
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    There is no fear of the unknown (divination).
    WRONG. Divination doesn't solve all your problems, and there are always counters to any spell.

    There is no moral uncertainty (commune).
    WRONG. Since when does knowing an alignment mean there is no moral uncertainty?

    There are no arduous journeys (teleporation).
    WRONG. You just have to make the adventure the journey and not the destination.

    There is no heroic sacrifice (raise dead).
    WRONG. It's just that heroic sacrifice now is the soul, and not just the body.

    So, in conclusion, WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG. Don't tell me my game can't have all that, just because I have those spells. Spells don't define what the story can do. I do.
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  • #73
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    I have found that many GMs that are unable to handle higher powered magic (usually any spell caster above 6th level) are often drawn to "low magic" and "gritty" campaigns. This allows them to limit the spell caster abilities that interfere with their plot designs: divination, increased movement capablities, any magical distance damage, increased healing, etc. Thus, you have a selection bias. With many "low magic, gritty" campaigns being run by poor or inexperieinced GMs.

    I would also note that many of us play D&D since it offers a "high magic" world. Yes, there are many other systems and other settings in d20 that offer this type of play, and if I wanted one of them, I would go play one of those campaigns.

    I've also noted a level of machoism over "low magic gritty" campaigns. As if one isn't really role playing until one plays in a "low magic gritty" campaigns. I would beg to differ. Just because a campaign has high magic, doesn't mean that it isn't challenging or exciting. It just means that the PCs face different types of challenges.
    Marcus Cole: I used to think it was a terrible thing that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'what if life *were* fair, and all of the terrible things that happen to us came because we really deserved them?' Now I take great comfort in the general unfairness and hostility of the universe.

  • #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamosa
    "grim and gritty" has usually had a completely different conitation. It has meant you are powerless. You can't avoid being railroaded into the GM's plots, because, it is a gritty world where you have no allies and you have no tools that will avoid the pitfalls of their world.
    No it doesn't have that at all. There is no correlation between grim and gritty and railroading! Your continued espousal of this viewpoint is offensive, especially considering the many replies which you've conveniently ignored.
    Quote Originally Posted by kamosa
    The sad thing is that most GM's that say they want "grim or gritty" or "low magic" think they are really accomplishing something great by running a lame game. I've seen more pompus GM's that think they are great because they had the "courage" to ban Magic Missile.

    Their arguements all tend to boil down to "D&D would be great, if the players just didn't do anything and just followed my awsome story and plot."
    I've never once heard anything even remotely resembling this. Are you also suggesting that the White Wolf games are all lame because they don't have Magic Missile and because they are grim? Or that their GMs are automatically pompous? How about GURPS players? Are they all arrogant asses who are foisting some "lame" game on their players? How about HERO? The Lord of the Rings game? Alternity? etc. etc. ad nauseum? You can't possibly be that ignorant unless you're deliberately ignoring what people are telling you in this thread. That comes across as extremely trollish whether you mean it to or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by kamosa
    I'm not saying low magic is neccessarily bad, to each his own, really. It just always seems to be an excuse to justify running a lame game. When I meet a new GM, if they start out with "I run low magic" my alarm bells go off and I start marking the exits.
    Actually, I can't see how that isn't exactly what you're saying, but you're right at least about "to each their own." An absolute refusal of a player to even accept that something non-standard for D&D could possibly be good seems to be much more of an alarm bell to me.
    Last edited by Joshua Dyal; Friday, 12th March, 2004 at 06:44 PM.

    "I realize that I am generalizing here, but, as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care." Dave Barry

  • #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by milotha
    I have found that many GMs that are unable to handle higher powered magic (usually any spell caster above 6th level) are often drawn to "low magic" and "gritty" campaigns. This allows them to limit the spell caster abilities that interfere with their plot designs: divination, increased movement capablities, any magical distance damage, increased healing, etc. Thus, you have a selection bias. With many "low magic, gritty" campaigns being run by poor or inexperieinced GMs.
    In my experience, the poor and inexperienced GMs I've played with have instead run "default" D&D. Usually in a dungeon. It's odd that we have two conflicting stories from those who are trying to "bash" low magic and gritty games; both that poor and inexperienced GMs run them, and that they are much more difficult to run well. If both of these are true, then grim and gritty and low magic must result in monumentally bad games. While I have no doubt that monumentally bad games do exist, to suggest a correlation between "suckiness" and fans of a certain style of game is ludicrous.

    "I realize that I am generalizing here, but, as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care." Dave Barry

  • #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Dyal
    No it doesn't have that at all. There is no correlation between grim and gritty and railroading! Your continued espousal of this viewpoint is offensive, especially considering the many replies which you've conveniently ignored.
    I only see GM's espousing that they love "grim and gritty" I don't see any players jumping up and down for the restrictions. Pound the table that I am wrong if you must, but it doesn't change my experiences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Dyal
    I've never once heard anything even remotely resembling this. Are you also suggesting that the White Wolf games are all lame because they don't have Magic Missile and because they are grim? Or that their GMs are automatically pompous? How about GURPS players? Are they all arrogant asses who are foisting some "lame" game on their players? How about HERO? The Lord of the Rings game? Alternity? etc. etc. ad nauseum? You can't possibly be that ignorant unless you're deliberately ignoring what people are telling you in this thread.
    Actually I have found White Wolf that way, but the others are fine. I'm not ignoring what people are saying. I'm saying that players don't think it's all that great, and it is a very good warning sign that you are about to have a lame game.

    Sure there are good GM's that can pull it off. But, for the most part it just falls flat and becomes an excuse to screw over the players and have a boring, lame game.
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  • #77
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    The only reason a low magic game would be more likely to be a boring, lame game is if you have a strong taste towards high magic. That's fine. The only reason someone would insult someone else over a question of taste is that they're a troll. That's not fine.

    You may have had bad experiences with a DM or two on low magic, but that's not a very good reason to paint with such a broad brush here.
    Last edited by Joshua Dyal; Friday, 12th March, 2004 at 07:00 PM.

    "I realize that I am generalizing here, but, as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care." Dave Barry

  • #78
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    Well I think we can all agree that...

    *it takes a skilled DM to run a high-level standard D&D campaign because of all the possibilities the spells open up;

    *it takes a skilled DM to run a low-magic/grim/gritty campaign and have it be "fun" because D&D's core assumptions don't directly support such a game;

    *and it takes practice to become a skilled DM no matter what kind of game you are running, and as a consequence sometimes you'll screw up, and sometimes the players will get caught in that.

    What is probably frustrating many players is when the DM isn't good at a particular type of game yet, and instead of changing or growing just starts to limit options.

    Bah, rambling here, sorry...

  • #79
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    I think the truth is more that they're hard to get right, and they can be favored by those who can't get the regular rules right, and see a need to change them.

    Of course, the better end of the spectrum, the more common one here, is people who can get the regular rules right, but like the mechanical feel of an lmgng style. Which results in games that are just as good as anybody else's, no better, no worse, than the DM's running them and the players in them.

    It doesn't take more *skill* to run lmgng. Any more than it takes skill to run a high or epic level D&D campaign. It just requires more desire to change the rules, and make your own. And that desire is held both by people who want a different feel, and by people who think that Magic Missile is overpowered. I think the bashers of lmgng are getting too hung up on the latter to note the existence of the former.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Dyal
    The only reason a low magic game would be more likely to be a boring, lame game is if you have a strong taste towards high magic. That's fine. The only reason someone would insult someone else over a question of taste is that they're a troll. That's not fine.

    You may have had bad experiences with a DM or two on low magic, but that's not a very good reason to paint with such a broad brush here.
    Ok, we've heard your opinion that you think he's a troll. I'd say it's time to just let it go, JD. I do see where he's coming from and it's a legitimate complaint even if you think he's painting everyone with that brush.

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