View Profile: hawkeyefan - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Today, 04:39 AM
    Christopher Bixby Jot down the three things youíd like to see come into play for the campaign. These can be a location or an object or a NPC, whatever you think may be interesting. Then, ask your players to do the same. Take that list, and create a very loose sketch connecting several of the suggestions, but donít connect them all, save some to be introduced later. Use that sketch to...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 06:08 PM
    So the more a GM does to try and portray the NPC, the better off the game is. I mean, I get the idea in general. But what if he's so bad at doing character voices that it actively undermines his goal? This is my point. I understand yours and would agree with a general "do what you can to enhance immersion" kind of approach. But I think what will increase immersion is very different from table...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 04:11 PM
    DIE is a comic book written by Kieron Gillen and illustrated by Stephanie Hans. It's a new take on the concept of RPG players being transported to the fictional world of their game, much like the D&D cartoon of old. As teenagers in the 1990s, a group of 6 friends vanish into the game, and 5 return two years later, unable to provide any details of where they've been or what has happened to them....
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 08:29 PM
    I don't think it replaces roleplaying. It's just a more straightforward version of roleplaying. What you seem to be advocating is speaking in character as a more cinematic version of roleplaying; does that sound right? I would say that may be the case just as if the DM makes a snarling face when he describes the gnoll that your party has just encountered. But if he describes the gnoll without...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 07:09 PM
    That's fair. And I don't mean to seem like I'm disagreeing with you. But I'd be surprised if most tables don't just rely on succeed/fail without giving consideration to partial success.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 06:53 PM
    There's always some level of judgment needed, yes, I agree. But I think that "success" and "fail" are inherently a bit more clearly understood than "partial success" or "success with a complication". I think that no matter what, you will have things playing out differently from table to table, but I think a lot more so with the partial success. So if the rules had gone into more detail about...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 06:27 PM
    I don't know if I agree with this. I mean, I get your point about how a conversation between players is similar to a conversation between characters. But the entire game is a conversation. I don't think the presence of social mechanics means that actual roleplaying will be replaced by dice rolls. Certainly your examples of "I try to intimidate the guard" and "I try to persuade the Baron" can both...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 06:06 PM
    Sure, it's discussed as a possibility. But it's pretty vague is what I'm saying. One of the things I like about 5E is that they seem to have left it very malleable so that different groups can use it for different styles of play, and could tweak it as needed. The DMG is largely a list of suggestions on how to do so. And that's great. I don't know if I'd hold it in the same category as a game...
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    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 05:47 AM
    But they were basing their initial design on things that already existed. One was Chainmail and other wargames, but the other was genre. Lieber and Howard and Tolkien and Vance and Lovecraft and so on. The game was designed with those stories in mind...so rules for fighting were definitely necessary because those stories all included fighting, or the possibility of it, at least. So the...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 07:33 PM
    No, but you said more people would be comfortable with them not existing. So I was addressing that. I think that's mostly due to expectation and tradition, or maybe a feedback loop of both. I'm currently playing a game that treats all the combat and non-combat actions the same....it has a universal mechanic that's resolved the same for all actions. Combat is still a big part of the game....
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 07:29 PM
    Sure, the set up was very basic....and although that was largely for the sake of brevity, I don't know if expanding a bit upon the set up will matter all that much. A lot of times, that's exactly what a skill check boils down to.....one roll, with a success or fail end state. I'd expect that most attempts to avoid combat by using a skill or a spell wind up coming down to one roll, and a failure...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 07:20 PM
    I do agree with you that we are, generally speaking, more comfortable with managing the social aspect of the game without rules than we would be the combat aspect of the game without rules. But this is likely a byproduct of the fact that we actively do the social actions in real life....we try to convince people, we discuss, we socialize...so there's a framework we can access. Most of us (I hope)...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 07:01 PM
    Yeah, I didn't mean to imply that XP for GP was a solution. Just that it at least offered something for those who didn't fight their way to the treasure. Later editions certainly got other things right (skill systems, etc.) but got other things wrong. I think the flatter math of 5E should have also been applied to XP. No need for hundreds and thousands of XP. Have each instance of a certain...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 06:37 PM
    Yeah, the game very clearly wanted you to engage in combat, with maybe the occasional attempt to avoid a particularly deadly opponent through trickery or stealth, or by simply avoiding it if another route was possible. The game could punish those who always attacked, but didn't do a lot to help support any other approach to a challenge. Or at least, it didn't really do so in a mechanical way. How...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 06:30 PM
    Oh, our games with homebrew settings and adventures often included saving the princess and all other kinds of things, for sure. But I think it's pretty clear as displayed in the published modules of the time, and in the pretty skimpy bits about it in the DMG, the rules about rewarding non-combat were far from robust. It basically boiled down to what the DM decided to grant. So if your group...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 01:46 AM
    Ah okay....I was going off memory of published adventures since thatís what people will have in common. What was the rule on page 84 of the DMG?
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 01:11 AM
    Well when I mentioned genre, I meant the kind of fiction that RPGs are generally drawing from; fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and all their sub-genres. Many such stories involve lots of violence...so games inspired by them do also. As for the XP, I was speaking generally, but it varied from game to game and even among editions/versions of D&D. The earliest examples typically didnít involve saving...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 10:43 PM
    Each system has pros and cons in relation to combat versus non-combat solutions; I didnít mean to sound like I was advocating one system over another in that way. 1E Made combat costly and potentially very dangerous, so clever play was often expected in order to avoid combat. The drawback here is that the game mechanics for non-combat options were minimal at best. My criticism of 3Eís skill...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 08:26 PM
    I mean in the broad sense of XP for GP; you could still gain a lot of XP by tricking the dragon or stealing from it as opposed to fighting it. The treasure was the goal, so you were heavily incentivized to get the treasure. So when the game shifted away from dungeon delving more toward heroic mission type of adventures, treasure was less of a motivation. Instead it was about stopping the bad...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 11:33 PM
    Iíve found that if the game in question has non-combat mechanics that are as engaging as the combat mechanics, and non-combat rewards on par with the combat rewards, players are much more willing to seek other solutions to in game challenges. Many games have an imbalance between those two elements leaving combat as the preferable method for a variety of reasons. Early editions of D&D avoided...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 05:52 AM
    Blades in the Dark 1) The Crew Sheet- having group based abilities and upgrades is great, and really helps hook the Crew into the world. 2) Flashbacks- the system doesnít really differentiate between actions taken in the present or in the past. This allows you to jump right into the action and then plan as you go. Same for your gear....you decide what you have as you need it. 3) Stress,...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 03:55 AM
    Saying theyíre both important is fine. Saying one is more important than the other....whichever one you may believe to be....is also fine. Is it about being superior? I donít think in the way you mean. Itís not ďmy game is superior to yours because I focus on the fictional situations more than the presentationĒ but rather ďFor me, games that focus on fictional situation more than presentation...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 02:26 AM
    I donít think that style is in any way a pejorative. Earlier I listed several artists whose storytelling was more important than their story...and I consider them all brilliant. Perhaps your view that itís a pejorative is part of the issue? Styleís precisely whatís being discussed. And yes, again, the two are intertwined. You canít separate them in play. Iím fully aware of that. No one is...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 09:41 PM
    Yeah, I think I acknowledged that in my post, and I think we've made that clear throughout the thread, despite proponents of either using extreme examples as support. Both are necessary. But I would imagine that most of us feel that one is more important than the other, such as pemerton's stated preference in the OP. To use your comparison (dated though it is, I sadly get it :p), for some...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 08:59 PM
    Isn't it really just a style versus substance debate? Neither is right nor wrong...both have their place, and both are present in gaming. But which is more prominent will of course vary by person. Put another way, is an RPG more of a game, or more of a story? Is it more important that it engage its participants in the way a game does (taking action, making decisions, achievement, etc.), or in...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 04:47 PM
    For sure....I definitely want players to be invested in each others' characters. I don't typically expect for other players to disengage when the spotlight is on someone else. But the longer that happens, and the less engaging the material is for the group as a whole, the more the risk. That's why I'll kind of narrate things along in those kind of downtime scenes you mentioned. Although, if there...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 04:15 PM
    The core mechanic may be a good indicator of how the game will play, but I don't think that's something that can be put on an axis in a graph. I agree with Morrus in that it's much more subjective than that. But there are some things that do help understand how a game will play.....d20 based, d6 based, percentile dice....those give an idea of things. Then there are systems like Powered by the...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 03:46 PM
    Sure, as anything, it can always be brought back to table expectations. Commenting only about my home game, which is indeed a long-standing, open ended game.....we still want to get stuff done each session, and we want that stuff to be relevant.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 03:38 PM
    I don't mind player interaction through character all that much....generally speaking, if that's what the players want to be doing, then I'm all for it. Although I don't think I'd ever go so far as some of the extreme examples I've heard in this or other recent threads. I do want the game to progress. My comment was more about narration or focus on one character in particular. It would...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 03:30 PM
    I meant the game system being played. As you go on to point out, this view would not work well with all games, like Fiasco. I was thinking more along the lines of what we'd consider traditional games in the vein of D&D, where there's a clearly established turn order and all that goes with it. In a game like that, I've noticed that need to keep things moving as both a player and DM. I absolutely...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 09:24 PM
    Adaptability. Knowing when something isnít working and then doing what can be done to make things better; to pick up on player cues and direct or redirect things toward their interest. A GM has to help keep the game fun, even if that means changing or even ditching what heís prepared.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 08:07 PM
    I don't know, man.....maybe make a different comment? If your complaint is that the thread seems the same, and in the next breath you say that you keep making the same comment, then maybe try something new? A few pages back, you and I and some others talked about what is essential to all RPGs. It didn't really last because people kept insisting that GMs were a requiremet because D&D, so I stopped...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 07:48 PM
    Either...or both! I think that generally speaking the expectation is that the GM will provide the bulk of narration, and so most of the advocacy voiced in the thread so far has talked about immersion. Does player narration add or detract from immersion? Is it highly game dependent? Is it a balance between quality and length? For me, as a player, I want the game to keep moving, so I...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 06:12 PM
    lowkey13 My answer on the first page was in response to the thread title and little else. Upon spending more time to read and absorb the OP and some follow up posts, I clarified my stance. I believe that post is on page 2, perhaps 3. I think a lot of the confusion is really to be attributed to people not looking beyond the title. And I understand why....I did it myself...but itís just a...
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    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 04:35 PM
    I wanted to revisit this post from a few pages back because I think the nature of the GM role would obviously take focus in a discussion of narration. But looking at player narration may shed some light on the subject. Iíd start off by pointing out that the game being played is a huge factor here. What the players are allowed to narrate affects how much narration is necessary and acceptable. ...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 02:50 PM
    I donít think anyoneís advocating for no description. But in an instance where players and their characters have no knowledge of the creature beyond what they can see, I think it makes sense to describe only what they see. No need to talk about the astral plane and lich queens and former servitude to mind flayers and all that lore. Save that info for when it makes sense to reveal it. But,...
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    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 04:18 AM
    I think that this is a good point, and I think the main point of narration is to describe the situation clearly so that the players can use that information to decide what to do. Although I do think that questions are a good thing, so I donít think every single detail needs to be provided ahead of time. Only the most relevant and obvious. Leaving the chance for players to ask questions is key,...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 01:37 AM
    Yes, description is necessary. But as Iíve said, I donít think that description generally qualifies, unless itís very wrought. Describing the qallupilluit one way or another may or may not engage the players. What I have the qallupilluit do is likely going to be the bigger factor in that regard.
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    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 12:41 AM
    Thatís understandable. Iím trying not to assume that there are only two views or that anyone is speaking for anyone else because I think thatís led to a lot of confusion throughout. Thatís a good question. Honestly, I think it depends on the situation and what youíre trying to do. I think that some variation of word choice is certain, as Hussar and I have recently discussed. I think...
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    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 05:37 PM
    It doesnít have to be. But of course there could be times when one is sacrificed for the other. Sounds about right.
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    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 04:49 PM
    Thatís fine. Iíd even agree in some instances. But what do you focus on with your game prep? Do you focus on creating situations or scenarios with which to engage your players? Or do you focus on how the scenarios are presented? Letís say you have minimal prep time for a session....you can only get so much done. What kind of prep would you typically do?
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    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 04:40 PM
    Thanks for clarifying your point. Do you think that word choice used in conversation will vary based on the topic of conversation? Do you think that word choice will vary based on those involved in conversation? I donít believe that all topics and all participants are locked into the same pool of words from which to draw. I doubt you would say so, either, but here we are. If youíd...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 06:16 AM
    Yeah I know....that last bit was sarcasm on my part. I know thereís no consensus. ďWhat are we aiming forĒ is probably the best way to look at it. Iíd never say ďquality proseĒ ahead of ďan interesting gameĒ. I wouldnít expect that to be universal, but Iím surprised at the amount of support there seems to be for that view.
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    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 06:10 AM
    You didnít understand 10% of the words I used? Of course not...you understood them all. A few (shall we spend a few pages on the technical definition of ďfewĒ or will you simply accept my use?) of the words used are uncommon. That doesnít make them unknown. So Iím not going to accept this ď10% of the description was uselessĒ because thatís just silly. Honestly....D&D players are gonna balk at...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 05:53 AM
    Skeletal would certainly be plainer language. Itís definitely what I was trying to convey, but rictus popped into my head so I went with it. I think description is important, but that the amount of description needed is often exaggerated. Iíd even say that literary effort can be great for a game, but probably has to be used sparingly or minimally. But I think Iíd agree with you about the...
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    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 05:41 AM
    The description is conversational. Itís how youíd tell someone about this sight. Yes, it contains a couple of uncommon words....but I was asked how Iíd describe a githyanki to new players. An alien being from another dimension. And you think using a handful of words that are uncommon means Iím shooting for the Pulitzer. Gotcha. You know how Iíd describe it to a group of long time players? ďYou...
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    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 04:57 AM
    Again, I donít think how common a word may be really matters. A few uncommon words to describe something totally alien and you consider that a concerted attempt at craft? I just donít see it. I do think the game is a conversation...what else would it be? Is it a speech? A recitation? A soliloquy? No. Itís a conversation. But itís not a conversation about everyday things. Most games contain...
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    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 04:43 AM
    I honestly donít see a meaningful difference between the two. Is it ďintricately carvedĒ thatís the difference? Or ďfeywoodĒ? I suppose that could be a bit more meaningful because itís some kind of fantastic material that hints at some kind of setting element, or at least seems to.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 04:38 AM
    Iím sure mine and pemertonís ideas donít exactly match, no. But thatís fine. I donít entirely agree with his premise, but I understand it, and I think he has a point. But Iím only speaking for myself. I think Iíve given examples at this point. I donít think describing something is enough....I think that the way its described has to matter. Focus on the how more than the what. So a...
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    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 01:38 AM
    Iíd expect that to be so, bit I donít think that really has to do with the literary merit of the description. Itís more about the length of the description and the meta aspect of it. ďOh the DM wouldnít focus on the staff so much if it wasnít important.Ē
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 01:35 AM
    So rarity of word use makes something literary? I donít agree with that at all. The description isnít a bad one by any means. Again, this goes back to ďnon-literary does not equal blandĒ. All it attempts to do is describe the creature to the players. What about the elevator example that you snipped? What did you think of that? If the description itself contained attempts at creativity...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 01:20 AM
    The same thing could happen with the first example if you didnít know your left from your right. But regardless, this is exactly the kind of discussion I think distracts from the main point. Iím going to assume you understood my point and move on. So does length equal literary quality? There doesnít appear to be anything different to me about these other than their length. None seem to be...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 11:00 PM
    As I said, I feel itís pedantic because I donít think the distinction youíre making is all that meaningful. Feel free to disagree, but donít tell me my opinion is wrong. Yes, itís all a matter of opinion. And though I would agree that a lot of time is wasted on arguing definitions, I think if people look beyond the term and look at whatís said, perhaps weíd get somewhere. This is true of...
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    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 09:29 PM
    I feel perhaps this is a bit pedantic. ďWhere are the elevators?Ē - ďFollow these guys.Ē It answers the question. To me, this is a very low bar then, and I doubt itís what was in mind with the OP. I feel like including a few adjectives isnít what weíre talking about. Thatís why I asked Hussar for an example of what he had in mind after providing my some of my own.
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    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 07:29 PM
    It does answer the question. Just not in as direct a manner. ďFollow these guys in the suits because thatís where theyíre goingĒ is an answer to the question. How so? It is descriptive, yes, but I donít think it aspires to be more than that. But if you think so, what is it specifically that you feel is an attempt at craft beyond mere communication?
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 06:14 PM
    I donít think description is the basis for a strive for literary quality. Description is essential to the interaction between GM and player....so I think itís obvious that weíre talking about something more, no? I think that saying something clearly and saying something creatively are two different things (although there will be examples that fit both). Letís say youíre in the lobby of a tall...
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    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 03:40 PM
    Edited. Corrected post below.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Friday, 7th June, 2019, 01:19 AM
    You describe them differently. You snipped my post, but Iím assuming you read the whole thing. I bolded the part that I felt was most relevant; namely the distinction between simple communication and an attempt at literary quality. I donít think that simply describing an orc or a githyanki constitutes the kind of attempt at literary quality thatís being discussed. Is it more important...
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    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 08:16 PM
    So go make a poll, dude. Those are great!!!
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    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 05:14 PM
    Honestly, I probably have a pretty liberal view on what would constitute a literary endeavor. I think world building and backstory for characters and all those things fall into that category. Sure, those are more preparatory to creating a story, but still a part of it. And I think that RPGs are sufficiently creative to qualify. If something captures the imagination, then I'd likely consider it...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 02:49 PM
    So an example that lacked context was provided....the zifnarb....and then the argument that any attempt to provide context is an attempt at literary quality? I donít get it. Quality is of course a range. Aspiring to literary quality seems to me that youíre placing a focus on trying to achieve a certain artistic level that's higher than simple communication. I donít think that establishing...
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    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 09:37 PM
    Again, I think you make a good point and I don't know if any of these things need to be mutually exclusive. A longer boxed text may or may not be of better literary quality than any other. I'm all for Strunk and White's rule of "omit unnecessary words". But then it's due to the muddy waters of the term literary quality and how it can be viewed in broad or narrow terms. I don't know if I'd say...
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    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 08:17 PM
    I think it's a question of the amount of narration. Sure, you can have a lot of descriptive language around a call to action.....they need not be mutually exclusive. And for me personally, I think how I would present the call to action would really depend on the specific situation in the fiction. Do I want to set a mood by really painting a detailed picture of the situation and their...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 03:07 PM
    I think that's a really good way of summarizing it...well put. I think the idea is that the narration is a call to action on the players' part. Passive not meaning that they stop to listen....that's essential.....but passive meaning when the GM is done, the players don't feel the need to have their characters take action. They are not active in that sense. The bomb scenario will most...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 05:01 PM
    Sometimes I wonder if there's like a Sacha Baron Cohen kind of thing going on. At times, it seems the only explanation.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 07:45 PM
    So the term "Gamemaster" is a label we use for functions performed by a specific participant of a game rather than the participant themselves? By this reasoning, when someone climbs a ladder, they're a Firefighter. Or is it that they're only performing Firefighting functions? I don't think that's very solid reasoning, nor a good definition for the term, but I realize we're not going to...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 12:53 PM
    You have an odd definition of the word ďlikeĒ that doesnít allow for comparison or metaphor. You also keep misquoting Robbins, or mis-paraphrasing him. And while I wouldnít say thereís no GM in D&D, I think that describing the DMís role as ďa player with different functionsĒ is an accurate, if broad, description. Sounds about right. GM is just a label we use. What that label means...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 03:57 AM
    Thereís no GM.....so all functions in this game are player functions. Something typically being a GM function doesnít make it always so. Different games assign these functions to different roles. For instance, in Blades in the Dark, the player decides what relevant action to use when he wants his character to try something. In D&D, the DM would listen to the playerís stated goal, and then...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 01:03 AM
    I fail to understand how thatís not a rotation. But perhaps thatís not the best word for it, so Iíll rephrase. Thereís no change in role during the game among the participants. Thereís no shift from player role to GM role and back. Iím sure such games exist, but thatís not how these particular games function. This isnít a correct understanding of the way the games function. Iíll stick...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 12:42 AM
    Iím not ignoring D&D. Iím just approaching from another point. D&D will undoubtedly enter the discussion (I mean, it already has, no?). What I hoped for was a starting point that didnít exclude any game classified as a RPG (with the notable and aforementioned exception of computer/video games). The definition I want...or more specifically the list of attributes...would certainly not...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 06:32 PM
    How is that not rotating GMs? No one steps into a role. The role of participant is the same throughout. Unless you think that all four players are actually GMs? As if weíd see a table of people and say ďOh look, those four are GMing Microscope!Ē Your assertion seems bizarre, no? No, you quoted him saying that playing Microscope brings some of the fun of GMing to play. Thereís a...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 04:24 PM
    Iíve only played Fiasco a couple of times, but I donít think that what youíre describing is very accurate. In any scene, you can either set up the scene or you can resolve it, and those aspects will change from scene to scene. But itís not really a case of a rotating GM like you are suggesting. And I know for a certainty thatís not how it works in Microscope. No one steps into GM mode and then...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 04:18 PM
    I think youíre right in that D&D looms large and is inescapable in such a discussion. So I see no need to cater to it. Network television had long been synonymous with television. Someone in the mid-70s or early 80s would likely make a statement like yours that any discussion of television must revolve around the networks. I donít think we need to be afraid of D&D somehow getting lost in...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 01:44 AM
    This is precisely why Iíd like to approach the topic from a different angle.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 01:27 AM
    But how do you determine what are the ďexceptionsĒ? Everyone here knows what the most prevalent form of RPGs is....so thatís why Iím going broad in focus....at least itíll potentially be a different discussion. So rather that start with D&D (and all the many similar games), I think itís interesting to try and look at all RPGs, without exception.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 12:53 AM
    Well weíre trying to boil things down to the most base elements. I admittedly know next to nothing about heavy metal. But what I do know is that it does have all types of sub-genres within it, and that it is itself a genre of music. So I donít think the analogy is all that useful because weíre at the music level of the topic. You donít think that this is a description of a certain...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 12:36 AM
    So whatís your point? That Microscope is not an RPG? Or that GMless RPGs donít exist because players in Microscope share some responsibilities that would fall to the GM in other games? I think one of the essential requirements of the role of GM is that it performs different functions from the rest of the participants; wouldnít you agree?
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 1st June, 2019, 06:18 PM
    Okay....why not? What would a viable definition sound like to you? I think the role is going to be vital to most games, but looking online there are dozens and dozens of games that eschew the role. I donít know how we can consider it essential when thatís the case. Not unless we narrow the definition down accordingly, which doesnít seem right to me.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 1st June, 2019, 05:48 PM
    Maxperson I feel like you care more about the technical definition than about if a GM or other adjudicator/facilitator is actually required. The way Fiasco works, no one would ever say there are 5 GMs. Also, there are other games that we can list besides Fiasco that donít require a GM. I mentioned Microscope just a while ago, and that doesnít require a GM. Nor does Kingdom, another RPG by the...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Friday, 31st May, 2019, 04:15 PM
    Yeah, I think GM or host or facilitator kind of fluctuates depending on the game and media. Number of players may as well...Iíve heard of solo TTRPGs...are they significant enough to acknowledge? A physical place to play, or an internet connection are also necessary, but those kinds of requirements arenít really related to RPGing, so I donít know how much we need to include them.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 30th May, 2019, 08:18 PM
    A facilitator of some sort? Certainly seems necessary, but the specific role also seems to vary depending on the game.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 30th May, 2019, 03:12 PM
    I figured to start as broad as possible and then narrow it down as we go. I do think there's a difference in CRPGs in that the role you play is largely chosen for you, or consists primarily of mechanical and cosmetic combinations, and not a whole lot in the way of role. Obviously, there's nothing to stop people from adopting a more in character approach to an MMO, let's say, and remaining in...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 30th May, 2019, 03:05 PM
    There isn't much content but there isn't a lot of presentation, either. They're pretty spare all around. They're basically 8 to 12 pages of often poorly written details about an adventure location, with some artwork of varying quality. And while I agree that some of the art is great, and really helped the product overall, the reason why I'd give content the edge is because in those early modules,...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 30th May, 2019, 02:49 PM
    It does make sense, yes. So, to summarize, so far it seems we have 4 required elements that may apply to all RPGs. 1. Imagination 2. Willingness/buy in 3. Role play 4. A game (some agreed upon set of rules) Are there any others? Would premise or situation fit on the list? Or setting?
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 09:10 PM
    Yeah, narration is always needed, I agree....I'm just kind of sidetracking here....if a game has a mechanic that somehow represents the character is angry, or scared, or confused....does the GM need to try and convey those ideas as strongly through narration? Especially if they're clearly defined terms with mechanical implications, such as the results of failing a save versus dragon fear or being...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 09:05 PM
    That's a great example, and I can understand why it was so compelling for you. Would you say that it was the prose itself that made it so deep for you? You say that the content and the mechanics of the game itself were not to your taste, so that's how I read it....but I don't want to assume that I get all the nuance. Would you say that this was a compelling experience as a game? Or more...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 08:58 PM
    I hate to snip so much of your interesting post....but I think I agree with most of it, and it can be boiled down to this bit above. What are the basics? Are there any that would apply to all of the myriad games you cited? Or most? Most is probably the best that can be hoped for. I think this is what Imaro and Aldarc have touched on. You had mentioned imagination, and I'd agree. I added buy...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 07:24 PM
    For a work in progress, sure, I would agree. For a completed work, I think it would be much more difficult to achieve. Replacing the score in Star Wars with Abba would indeed undermine the tone that it's going for. But would it make the movie a comedy? We may laugh at the result, but I don't think that makes it a comedy. I suppose that's really beside the point, though, since what we really...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 03:10 PM
    Not really. The fact is that there can be an answer, it's just that it will very likely be different for each of us. It's not about one true way so much as "this is what I enjoy most out of this hobby" or "this is the part of the game that I love the most". That's what I'm asking. Is there anyone who would place the presentation or performance above the content? If so, why?
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 03:05 PM
    That's interesting because I'd say they are almost the exact opposite. They're pretty bare bones in their presentation.....little pamphlets with minimal production value. Their content though....that's basically what sparked the whole hobby.
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Wednesday, 12th June, 2019

  • 05:46 PM - darkbard mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    My last post- Do you ever feel like you keep saying, over days and weeks, that people are talking past each other, because of definitions, and you keep saying that, and every now and then, someone will say, "Hey, you know what Lowkey, you know what the real problem is, definitions! I mean ... context matters, buddy." ....and you just kind of want to smash your head repeatedly into your desk? Ever get that feeling? ;) Aye, but for the context of this discussion, pemerton pretty clearly describes from the beginning (I would argue, though others, like hawkeyefan, have framed this as almost from the beginning, i.e., with some early supporting posts) the intent behind his use of the term "literary." Rather than people jumping in and obfuscating the discussion with arguments over alternative definitions, why not engage the OP on the terms presented? Or just, y'know, not get bent outta shape by the usage?

Sunday, 9th June, 2019

  • 08:28 PM - Imaro mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Let me ask a question to pemerton, Hawkeye, Bedrockgames and Aldarc. Would you use the same words/language/etc. to describe a remote village in the mountains for say a Ravenloft campaign vs a Four color superhero game like Icons? let's assume good faith in that the Icons village isn't supposed to be haunted or anything tht would make it more Ravenloft-esque.... EDIT: Meant hawkeyefan ...
  • 01:53 AM - Imaro mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    hawkeyefan... can you just give an example of what you feel would be literary?? I'm not certain your and pemerton 's idea of literary line up since he claimed I seemed to understand it and my understanding was non-conversational, evocative description.

Friday, 7th June, 2019

  • 06:10 AM - Lanefan mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I think it's possible to describe a situation without "painting a picture" in the literary sense. If I can't engage the players unless I "paint a picture" in the literary sense, then I worry that it's probably not a very good situation. You still need to paint the picture and make it all clear somehow, even if the players are already fully engaged. Why? Because if you don't you'll end up with players imagining or "seeing" the same situation in completely different ways both from each other and (worse) from you the DM, and reacting to it based on their own interpretation of what you-as-DM said. I've had this happen numerous times both as DM and player, where I (or the DM) wasn't clear enough and a player (or I) had a character react in a way that made perfect sense to the player but none at all to the DM: the DM - be it me or someone else - simply wasn't painting a clear enough picture and the player had the character act based on wrong info.
  • 12:12 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...ess your game consists of nothing but retreaded material, where the context is already set, you need to actually paint that picture for the player. I think it's possible to describe a situation without "painting a picture" in the literary sense. If I can't engage the players unless I "paint a picture" in the literary sense, then I worry that it's probably not a very good situation. EDIT: Having read on, I see that Aldarc has made much the same points upthread. Also, I've spent far, far too long dealing with non-native English speakers who do not share our culture to take any description for granted. Every single reference you've made presumes a native English speaker (or near native anyway) with a deep grounding in western Judeo-Christian culture. As soon as you lose that background, none of your allegorical explanations are going to work. Imagine teaching D&D to ten year olds and you're trying to reference Men In Black - a 20 year old movie they've likely never seen. As hawkeyefan has said, what does this have to do with literary quality?

Thursday, 6th June, 2019

  • 03:28 PM - Sadras mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...on's premise in his OP. But it seems like people are arguing not about what he said, but misconstruing what he said so they can argue imaginary point. And, yes, equivocating on the meaning of "literary" has been a part of the frustration that people like Bedrockgames and I have had with people criticizing pemerton's argument. Even now, you can see this in Hussar's argumentation, much as Maxperson's before him, an attempt to essentially argue that everything is literary (or define it in an overly broad way) and use that to claim ergo that TTRPGs are a literary endeavor. I don't think that people are fairly representing pemerton's argument. I agree it does not help to use the word literary in such a broad manner, despite technicalities, I already addressed same with Max. My only engagement in this thread has been about the the use of wordplay for the immersive experience as well as the backstory I might create for a campaign which I might view the latter as an literary endeavour. @hawkeyefan, he can correct me where I misrepresent him, does not see such exercise as a literary endeavour. I'm not entirely convinced of this but I'm not opposed to this either, mostly because, I have not yet clearly defined what a literary endeavour is in my mind. The high art definition is easy, but is it anything more AND IF YES, where does it stop? Conan? The Three Investigators? Gamebooks? Comics? Because at some point I'd inject my backstory into that mix. There are characters with motives. Internal Consistency exists. There is a setting, a theme. There is no dialogue though and that is probably where I could agree then, it fails as a literary endeavour if literary endeavour requires at the very minimum, dialogue. @pemerton viewed wordcraft to be more reflective, so as not in the spur of the moment (during roleplay). That is a tricky position to take but understandable. At minimum then my backstory has wordcraft. But the question is what if I write my NPC dialogue prior game time? I woul...

Tuesday, 4th June, 2019

  • 12:07 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...is not specific to the profession. Painters use ladders, house owners use ladders, cleaning people use ladders, and so on. Creating scenes in RPGs, playing NPCs in RPGs and resolving scenes in RPGs are some functions specific to GMs, and at least two of those are present in Fiasco and Microscope. Now the Strawman. It wasn't my reasoning that you used. I said GMs, participants of the games, are labeled GMs because they engage in GM specific activities, not a label for the functions themselves. You applied an incorrect argument to me and then responded to your own fictional argument. We can agree to disagree, but I was hoping to see if you would succeed in a fallacy hat trick with your next response. I take it back, Max -- do not explain fallacies, just keep using the titles. While that's a habit that indicates a lack of argumentative ability, better that than to remove doubt. I mean, while building your cases for the fallacies here, you completely missed the thrust of hawkeyefan's argument and actually helped him land it more solidly. That main thrust was at the gooey, shifting center of your argument where you keep saying the are GM specific functions but are very careful to not list them. You've mistaken sarcasm for fallacy. At least when you were just tossing fallacy names out one may have imagined you'd followed along. Now, we know you didn't.

Monday, 3rd June, 2019

  • 11:35 AM - Ovinomancer mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    You don't get to just invent definitions in order to win the internet. At the very least, I have no obligation to humor you and your fictional definition. It was Lanefan's definition, and it was the impetus fir this spur of the discussion. I neither invented it, nor particularly cared for it because there are examples of RPGs without Lanefan's defined role. Just like there are RPGs without your preferred role. I don't believe for one second that you forgot the second part of the definition. ", in particular by narrating the details of the story that are not controlled by the players." Stop your disingenuous arguments. Oh, Max. Didn't you just say the GM is also a player in your special pleading against hawkeyefan? Yet, here you are backing off of that so you can special plead against me. And, I'm disingenuous? It's not like I've tried to agree with you twice, now, on a good point but you're still arguing the infallability of internet dictionaries. Hete's a clearer example of the circle in your argument: Q: What are the properties of a field? A: They have cows in them. Q: What's a cow? A: Cows are things in fields, particularly things different from other things. That's the heft of your current argument, with a good bit of appealing to.the authority of internet dictionaries thrown in.

Friday, 31st May, 2019

  • 01:31 AM - Lanefan mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    But .... the difference between a DM/GM/referee/adjudicator and a host of a referee-less RPG is ... what? And let's take Fiasco, for example. Would the key person in that instance, if you were to play it with friends in a public space, just be the owner of the RPG? And if so, what does that mean? I think that while the concept (a "key person") is both useful and common to most RPGs, it is not a necessary condition for an RPG, if that makes sense?Try it without one sometime...if you can. Someone has to take the initiative and get the game together one way or another; and though in different games/systems this can involve different duties and responsibilities as hawkeyefan says, the end result is the same: without this person there is no game.

Wednesday, 29th May, 2019

  • 10:01 AM - Aldarc mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Right. So, the mood is something that engages you. So... what tools are used to establish the mood? When you play, does someone *just tell you*? "This scene with the Senechal is jocular, with an undertone of imminent threat, so please play accordingly,"?IME, sometimes yes. Not to speak for hawkeyefan, but one of the points that I raised in this thread has been about how different storytelling mediums have different tools at their disposal. Films can create mood in ways that books can't. Likewise TTRPGs have more tools than any sense of literary wordcraft available to utilize for establishing the mood: music, terrain and minis, pictures, scene/grid layout, countdown timers, rules, DM presence, etc. Many TTRPGs also draw on the personalized experience and collective memory of their table. You may have a group of characters who have never encountered an aboleth before, but the players have. And when a DM pulls out an aboleth, it can trigger a sense of collective memory in the players. "Remember that time where we nearly wiped to the aboleth and had to flee?" So often I have seen mood created simply through this manipulation of play experience, memories, and stock monsters. OTOH, the main sticking point here is because I still have no idea what you or Aldarc mean by these term...
  • 01:47 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    And the author of the OP?What about me? Do you mean, what did I hope to get out of the thread? One's never sure in advance beyond "interesting conversation". But the discussion about storytelling and various modes, driven mostly by Aldarc and hawkeyefan, has been interesting. Hriston and darkbard have helped refine my framing of my point. That's helpful. And also led it in the direction of "advice to GMs", which led to some fruitful discussions with uzirath whom I've not engaged with very much before as a poster. And Manbearcat has pushed with some challenging posts about pacing that I haven't replied to yet. Ultimately, the reason I post on a discussion board is to have discussions.

Monday, 27th May, 2019

  • 03:53 PM - darkbard mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Attempting to pigeonhole "literary" or "literature" into objective, unassailable categories is a fool's errand. As hawkeyefan points out several times, pemerton has been consistent in his use of a definition for this particular discussion, and he has clarified that definition for the purpose of this discussion when needed. I think what qualifies as literary/literature and why can make for fascinating analysis, but that is not what's happening here in this thread, at least not any longer. I also do think Bedrockgames is on to something when he says, ultimately, this discussion now has become a mask for playstyle arguments. Of course it has. This is inevitable, for aesthetic judgments are inseperable from "our deeper structures of belief," as literary critic Terry Eagleton calls them: If it will not do to see literature as an 'objective', descriptive category, neither will it do to say that literature is just what people whimsically choose to call literature. For there is nothing at all whimsical about such kinds of value-judgement: they have their roots in deeper structures of belief which are as ap...

Friday, 24th May, 2019

  • 10:02 AM - Hussar mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    pemerton. Nice tautological definitions there. Until such time as youíd care to plant the goal posts, this discussion regardless of how much blather you want to add, is pointless. óóó hawkeyefan - I would tell such a new DM that there is no single most important thing but rather dming, like any creative exercise is a combination of multiple factors that need to be addressed.
  • 05:13 AM - Hussar mentioned hawkeyefan in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...is about. REH isn't high art either, but clearly Tower of the Elephant and The Scarlet Citadel are literary endeavours. Read the recent posts from @hakweyefan or uzirath. Those engage with the theme of the thread. Here a quote from you from a way upthread: Assuming that you haven't changed your mind, then this is something that we disagree about. And it's something that, in the OP, I am denying. ROTFLMAO. Oh, goodie, we're right back to swirling around the rabbit hole of what does "literary" mean. Yay. See, folks, this is why this thread is 50 pages long, and you can talk about pemerton being clear with what he meant all you like, but, this is about as clear as mud. REH is "literary"? Seriously? A minor genre author who wasn't good enough to actually publish a novel and is virtually unheard of outside of genre circles is "literary"? CONAN qualifies as literature? So, until you actually define what you mean by literary, there's no point in this discussion. hawkeyefan or uzirath only "engage with the theme of the thread" because they apparently agree with you. Granted, I have no idea what they are agreeing to, since apparently, literary encompasses everything from Dickens or Melville to pulp fiction writers, so, umm... yeah? I'll stick to the one definition that Bedrockgames seems to be consistently using - literary=high art stuff like Shakespeare or whatnot. Which, fair enough, if that's our definition, certainly RPGing is not a literary endeavour. pemerton, when you can actually clearly write what you are on about in an unambiguous way that uses clear English, I'll engage with you. Until then, it's goalposts on rollerskates and I've got far too little patience to bother anymore.

Tuesday, 14th May, 2019

  • 11:19 AM - Sadras mentioned hawkeyefan in post GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8--Final Run-- Part 5
    See, this is interesting to me (and one of the reasons I brought up gaming as a corollary or coincidental reference-point if you'd like). I've enjoyed the ramped-up pacing. /snip Coming back full circle to my initial statement, my gaming preferences follows suit; economy of time and action with a ceaseless deluge of hard choices + an onslaught of conflict as it snowballs then crescendos into climax and denouement...no "wasted" motion. Ramped up pacing with logical sense thrown in sure...but this was senseless. I also disagree with @hawkeyefan with his (and I'm going to say it) apologist view of the scorpion use. Again this goes back to what feels 'more real' For instance Episode 4 scene Instead of having Bronn complete the Tyrion sidestory (I will pay you double), they should have tasked him with assassinating the Dragon Queen after the NK debacle. In that moment Missandei dies saving Daenerys taking the deadly bolt. Then we would not have that unnecessary Euron/Missandei moment and her silly execution but the grief would still be real. Revised Episode 5 Remove dragon getting killed by Euron, rather have the dragon wounded in the battle by one of the scorpions, as it crashlands alive in KL. It makes the scorpions seem useful/effective but not supermagical and doesn't have to nullify them from one episode to the next. Jon, who was riding said dragon falls into the water before the beast crashlands into the city. The Bells Ring, but the scorpions on the walls have already taken aim at the wounded dragon writhing and lashi...

Monday, 6th May, 2019

  • 10:44 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Maxperson, as far as I know there are no rules in 5e for clothes becoming dirty or sweaty. Does that mean you think a GM who narrates a failed physical manoeuvre in a swamp as "You fall into the mud, making your clothes filthy" is breaking the rules? Or a GM who narrates a failed CHA check to influence a NPC, in circumstances where the PC has been in the wilds for a long time without bathing, as the NPC walking away making a comment about These reeking travellers? There are many ways that humans can degrade their clothes, their weapons, their pets, their companions (where are D&D's rules for putting a frog in someone's bed?) that D&D's rules don't model. That doesn't mean those things aren't part of the gameworld. It doesn't stop both players and GM's invoking them when the mood strikes, either as mere colour (like hawkeyefan's player who has a cold and so plays his/her PC as having a cold) or as part of the narration of failure (as per my examples above, or as per the suggestion that AbdulAlhazred and I made way upthread that a missed attack might be narrated as the weapon having become dulled) or even as mattering to resolution (maybe after falling in the mud, the GM imposes disadvantage on CHA checks to befriend strangers until the PC gets clean clothes). The 5e Basic PDF has whetstones on its equipment list. It also has price lists for different qualities of clothing, food, drink and accommodation, even though there are no mechanics governing social class and status. There is an abacus on the list, although no rule that forbids a player using a calculator or pen-and-paper to do maths for his/her PC. All these things are clearly there to help establish these various elements of the fiction. The fact that there is no mechanic that necessarily invokes them is entirely beside the point. EDIT: A lot ...

Tuesday, 30th April, 2019

  • 04:03 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...o. When you pick the gear in advance and know what that gear is, you will often not have exactly what you need for a given situation. When you pick the gear in advance and don't set what that gear is, allowing you to just pick whatever is perfect for you to use in a given situation you encounter later, you will have exactly what you need far more often than you would in real life. It's less realistic than knowing what gear you are picking before you get to a situation. How often can you restock on slots, and what happens to the objects you've created with the slots you've already used?These claims are completely unsubstantiated. In a typical BitD session, what is the ratio of decision situations that make gear salient to number of gear slots available? I don't know the answer to this question, because I've neither read the rules for the game nor played it. Given the question that you ask, I'm pretty sure you don't know the answer either. So you have no idea how often in (say) hawkeyefan's game the players choose to forgo choices to establish gear because they're saving slots for later. Which is to say, you don't know what the frequency is of occasions when these characters don't have exactly what they need. Furthermore, you haven't proferred any such frequecy of occasions as being "realistic" for experienced criminals in the real world. So whatever the "realistic" frequency may be, which itself seems to me pretty much just conjecture or taste, you don't know whether or not anyone's BitD gameplay has the same frequency, a greater one or a lesser one! Also, as your question shows, you have no idea what the rules are for use of gear, re-use of gear, expenditure of gear, etc. So you have no idea how often BitD players make creative choices involving already-established gear rather than expend unspent slots on establishing new gear. So your claim about how often creative thinking might take place is also completely unsubstantiated. A system that I am experienced w...

Monday, 29th April, 2019

  • 11:20 AM - Sadras mentioned hawkeyefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    But, it's kinda not. The gear mechanic is very tightly tied into all the other mechanics such that, while it may appear super loose, it generates many hard choices as well and isn't nearly as loose in play as it looks in isolation. When @hawkeyefan first mentioned the mechanic I pretty much realised how it could be used in a game and given your above post, this confirms it. It is an excellent mechanic! Hard choices and integration can be incorporated in both gamist and more authentic mechanics. But, that aside, your objection isn't one of "realism" but rather play focus. You may prefer the detailed planning and gearing and detailed encumberance, but in the fiction generated in play there's no realism difference. This is an argument about where we prefer to spend our game time. Planning beforehand ticks more realism/authenticity boxes. Play focus does not enter the conversation, it is a completely separate issue in this instance. In the same vain one could have weapon slots so when you face undead, you can replace a weapon slot with an appropriate weapon that does significant damage to undead (i.e. bludgeoning). Is this more authentic to you? I find the more you deviate from how things occur in RL, the more you tend t...

Sunday, 28th April, 2019

  • 02:11 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    When pemerton writes that adding a table for weapon deterioration does nothing to increase his sense of realism, I am inclined to take him at his word. Generally I agree with the thrust of your posts, but just wanted to come in on this given I was mentioned: I accept the proposition that weapons can deteriorate through use. I think there are a range of ways of introducing this into the fiction: mere background colour, as hawkeyefan suggested; as narrated consequence of failure in a system that permits that (Prince Valiant would be an example; so would Burning Wheel; so, I believe though not from experience but from posts in this thread, would be BitD); via a GM-side complication mechanic (which is how Cortex+ Heroic handles it); and via a randomisation mechanic annexed to the attack roll resolution process, which is what Maxperson seems to have in mind. Any of these might contribute to a sense of realism, depending on details of implementation. I think the lattermost is also often liable to detract from it, if (i) it generates implausible frequencies (too many to be taken seriously; or so convoluted an unlikely that it never comes up, thus not engendering the realistic/authentic experience that was looked for in the first place), or (ii) it creates an implausible contrast with other salient features of play (eg why do our weapons always break but our pitons and armour never do?).

Saturday, 27th April, 2019

  • 03:48 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    In reality, we plan what to take before the trip/adventure, hard choices have to be made at planning level <snip> Much of this is circumvented via the BitD system which allocates slots based on when it is required. <snip> the mechanic is less like how it happens in real. I would love to go overseas and not pack anything except a luggage bag with x slots and a generic weightIn some previous threads I've been criticsed for suggesting that other posters conflate the ficiton and the real world - but it's hard to see what else might be going on in this post! The characters in BitD do not pack luggage bags with X slots and generic weights. They plan, and make hard choices. But in the real world, we author all that at a certain point in time, being in possession of certain information. There is nothing unrealistic about the resulting fiction. And as hawkeyefan says, it's not obvious that the decision process for the player is very different from that for the character: the player's knowledge of situation X that triggers a decision that the character packed item Y corresponds to the skilled character's decision, in anticipation of situation X, to pack item Y. The first D&D mechanic that I thought of that is the same as this is from Oriental Adventures, mid-1980s. The yakuza class has an ability to have contacts (a certain number per level). The player does not need to decide who the contact is until s/he wants to have his/her PC meet that contact. This is not new game tech.


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Tuesday, 18th June, 2019

  • 09:15 PM - Celebrim quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    What you seem to be advocating is speaking in character as a more cinematic version of roleplaying; does that sound right? Yes, that's pretty much the essence of it. I would say that may be the case just as if the DM makes a snarling face when he describes the gnoll that your party has just encountered. But if he describes the gnoll without making the face, I don't think he's not roleplaying. So, here comes the stickler. I'm not really interested in arguing the qualitative. I'm arguing for essentially the quantitative. In other words, whether or not the DM is roleplaying isn't really an interesting contention. While I might agree that there is some diminishing point at which the GM is not roleplaying at all, that's not to me the essence of the issue. The point is that he is roleplaying "less well"/"more badly" than the first GM. And as a mature form of art, we ought to be pushing toward the skillful play of the GM who brings the gnoll more to life and creates the more interesting...
  • 07:15 PM - Celebrim quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I don't know if I agree with this. A lot of people don't. I don't think the presence of social mechanics means that actual roleplaying will be replaced by dice rolls. You'll note, I don't either. What I actually believe is something much more controversial. Certainly your examples of "I try to intimidate the guard" and "I try to persuade the Baron" can both be used in a game that has no social mechanics just as easily as one that has them. I think "I try to intimidate the guard" replaces actual roleplaying, and that social mechanics are a problem only to the extent that they encourage these anti-cinematic social propositions. If your RP/social encounter tends to replace conversation with rules propositions, that is what the problem is, and not that there is an underlying system for guiding the GM on how to adjudicate social interaction. Neither is right or wrong, but also neither is dependent on the presence of social rules. Like I said, my position is more extreme tha...
  • 07:00 PM - 5ekyu quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    There's always some level of judgment needed, yes, I agree. But I think that "success" and "fail" are inherently a bit more clearly understood than "partial success" or "success with a complication". I think that no matter what, you will have things playing out differently from table to table, but I think a lot more so with the partial success. So if the rules had gone into more detail about what a partial success could be, if they had a more structured system in place that allowed for partial success, and offered examples of what it could mean in different cases, then I think the system expands the potential outcomes more clearly, and the GM has more to lean on to determine what a partial success may be. I think that you can achieve this with a rules system like 5E....as I said, in my game we've adopted these kinds of elements. But I think a game that's designed with this mode in mind is more likely to do the job cleanly."But I think a game that's designed with this mode in mind is more like...
  • 06:13 PM - 5ekyu quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Sure, it's discussed as a possibility. But it's pretty vague is what I'm saying. One of the things I like about 5E is that they seem to have left it very malleable so that different groups can use it for different styles of play, and could tweak it as needed. The DMG is largely a list of suggestions on how to do so. And that's great. I don't know if I'd hold it in the same category as a game that includes partial success in a more definitive way. As we've seen in some discussions on the boards, the very idea isn't always easily understood, so without actual rules, it's harder to grasp. For those familiar with the concept, or who take the mention in the PHB and DMG and run with it, yes, you can establish a pretty different system. But I don't know if many people would do so.Well, to me, its as vague as succeed and fail are - they get about the same. I mean, if i am climbing a treacherous hillside do i fall on a fail or just get bo ehere? If i succeed is ot one check for the whole climb or one pe...
  • 06:10 AM - Tony Vargas quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    the other was genre. Lieber and Howard and Tolkien and Vance and Lovecraft and so on. The game was designed with those stories in mind... IDK, I feel like there'd be a lot more rules for walking around, building fires in the snow, and Expositon, Joel, EX-PO-SITION ... We're Tolkien really a lot more than a cosmetic inspiration. Likewise, Lovecraftean influence would have meant more insanity, less combat. Lieber? You'd need some exhaustive rules for the *ahem* interaction /pillar/...

Monday, 17th June, 2019

  • 11:36 PM - Celebrim quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    So I think the existence of engaging mechanics for social interaction can actually add to play rather than detract from it. The problem is that the most common social interaction rules aren't really all that engaging. More to the point, they tend to be less engaging than the social interaction that they are simulating. By the argument that I outlined above, the more detailed the social interaction rules, the less engaging that they will tend to be because the less they will resemble the thing that they are a model for. I can foresee this becoming Celebrim's Third Law of RPGs at some point, I just haven't figured out how to phrase it. But I have a strong suspicion that one of the reasons that the systems that try to cover everything using the same mechanical resolution system never seem to catch on is that fundamentally the things that they are trying to model are more different than they are similar. You can hammer every square peg through the round hole in order to get some sort of '...
  • 10:26 PM - lowkey13 quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    No, but you said more people would be comfortable with them not existing. So I was addressing that. I think that's mostly due to expectation and tradition, or maybe a feedback loop of both. I'm currently playing a game that treats all the combat and non-combat actions the same....it has a universal mechanic that's resolved the same for all actions. Combat is still a big part of the game. But non-combat is just as important, and is just as engaging. So I think the existence of engaging mechanics for social interaction can actually add to play rather than detract from it. The problem is that the most common social interaction rules aren't really all that engaging. So, w/r/t and what Umbran said earlier, I am reminded about the controversies over the introduction of the original Thief class. One of the issues with introducing the class was that people were worried that if you introduced a Thief with certain defined skills (like Hide in Shadows) that would mean that individuals who were not T...
  • 10:17 PM - 5ekyu quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    No, but you said more people would be comfortable with them not existing. So I was addressing that. I think that's mostly due to expectation and tradition, or maybe a feedback loop of both. I'm currently playing a game that treats all the combat and non-combat actions the same....it has a universal mechanic that's resolved the same for all actions. Combat is still a big part of the game. But non-combat is just as important, and is just as engaging. So I think the existence of engaging mechanics for social interaction can actually add to play rather than detract from it. The problem is that the most common social interaction rules aren't really all that engaging."So I think the existence of engaging mechanics for social interaction can actually add to play rather than detract from it. The problem is that the most common social interaction rules aren't really all that engaging." The DMG setup for these involve the traits such as ideals, bonds, flaws- discovering them, exploiting them etc and...
  • 10:13 PM - 5ekyu quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Sure, the set up was very basic....and although that was largely for the sake of brevity, I don't know if expanding a bit upon the set up will matter all that much. A lot of times, that's exactly what a skill check boils down to.....one roll, with a success or fail end state. I'd expect that most attempts to avoid combat by using a skill or a spell wind up coming down to one roll, and a failure almost always results in the combat taking place anyway. Very often with the PCs in a worse position than if they'd simply charged in at the start. Again, that's speaking in general; there are certainly examples of a different approach (my 5E game would have plenty of examples to offer). The idea of a partial success, or success with a set back, is a very good one, and is the kind of thing I'm talking about when it comes to improving the non-combat actions. The PHB does talk about them, which is a good thing, but I think they likely could or should have gone a little further.If a group decides to go wi...
  • 08:47 PM - Tony Vargas quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I disagree very strongly. It isn't just about the stakes. It is about how difficult it is to adjudicate something as physically unpredictable and dynamic as combat fairly without a resolution system. With social situations, it is much easier to adjudicate based on the NPC personality in question and the reasonableness of what players are proposing. Again, I'd argue they're not necessarily easier, just more familiar, that way. Is it really that difficult to conclude who wins a fight (a fight in an heroic fantasy story, no less - the hero usually wins, unless his loss advances the plot somehow, no?), and narrate how, vs both the DM and player getting deeply enough into the minds & emotions of a character & NPC to accurately simulate a tense or high-stakes negotiation, between those two imaginary individuals, with their knowledge, talents, skills and agendas? I will toss out there, for folks to chew on, whether the GM is adjudicating when they are not referring to any rules. A referee or gam...
  • 07:37 PM - Bedrockgames quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    No, but you said more people would be comfortable with them not existing. So I was addressing that. I think that's mostly due to expectation and tradition, or maybe a feedback loop of both. All I meant was more people are able to play the game with an absence of social mechanics than they are with an absence of combat mechanics. i wasn't addressing whether more people wanted them or not. Personally my impression is more people do want social mechanics than don't. This is why I include them in my own games, despite not being partial to them myself.
  • 07:23 PM - Bedrockgames quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    But I don't think that automatically means that social interaction rules shouldn't exist, or that combat rules must be more complex. . I never said this at all. This is a matter of preference. Some people like social interaction rules, some people don't. Both options are fine. Personally I am less inclined to social interaction rules because I have trouble using them in practice. But I don't think there is a problem wit them being in a game. My only point was you can still have plenty of social interaction even if there are no rules in the game (in fact for me, it makes it easier to do so if there are not such rules in the game)
  • 07:11 PM - 5ekyu quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Yeah, I didn't mean to imply that XP for GP was a solution. Just that it at least offered something for those who didn't fight their way to the treasure. Later editions certainly got other things right (skill systems, etc.) but got other things wrong. I think the flatter math of 5E should have also been applied to XP. No need for hundreds and thousands of XP. Have each instance of a certain action grant an XP. Make them class and perhaps race and alignment specific. And it'd probably have been a good idea to connect the Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws to the system, too. Limit how much XP a player can get for any individual action. If a Fighter can only gain XP twice for combat in any given session, he's not incentivized to resolve every challenge with a fight. Each PC would have very specific play goals, and could actively and clearly work toward obtaining those goals. You'd have to couple this with other things, though. You'd have to make non-combat action resolution more engaging than: P...
  • 06:11 AM - Tony Vargas quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    1E Made combat costly and potentially very dangerous, so clever play was often expected in order to avoid combat. The drawback here is that the game mechanics for non-combat options were minimal at best. When you put it that way, it's amazing we spent so many hrs playing it! ;) My criticism of 3Eís skill system is not so much that it was limited in what actions it covered, but more that its resolution of those tasks was pretty bland compared to combat. Most actions involved a DC and a skill check and little more. And, typically only one character... After playing 3E for a time, my players almost never hesitated to enter combat. I had to actively alter the system in order to make them think of combat as the last option. I find this to be true of 5E, as well, although itís easier to adjust. I can see how some table take a fair play message from encounter guidelines - and, hey, its not a dysfunctional style of play for the DM to essentially assemble foes for the party like building an a...
  • 02:07 AM - Bobble quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    What was the rule on page 84 of the DMG? That's where XP is discussed (or 86) It's been a couple of decades since I cracked that book open. But Gygax talks about it in several places in the beginning. Many players who haven't read what he wrote for DMs assume it isn't there because their DM was stuck on hack and slash.
  • 01:56 AM - Maxperson quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Ah okay....I was going off memory of published adventures since thatís what people will have in common. What was the rule on page 84 of the DMG? I'm not sure about page 84. I'll look in a second. However, the intro section of the PHB says the following. "While initial adventuring usually takes place in an underworld dungeon setting, play gradually expands to encompass other such dungeons, town and city activities, wilderness explorations, and journeys into other dimensions, planes, times, worlds, and so forth." It's pretty clear that things like "Rescue the princess" and other such adventures were intended as part of 1e from the very get go. That also jives from my play experience. I started playing in 1983, 6 years before 2e started and every DM I played with had these sorts of adventures. Often it was a dungeon. Less often, but still fairly common were the rescue, infiltrate and steal scenarios. This is the relevant portion of page 84. "Tricking or outwitting monsters or overcoming t...
  • 01:28 AM - Bobble quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    As for the XP, I was speaking generally, but it varied from game to game and even among editions/versions of D&D. The earliest examples typically didnít involve saving the princess very often, but usually involve a dungeon/site exploration and the acquisition of treasure. I think, for D&D at least, a shift toward more heroic based XP happened later on, closer to the launch of 2E. No. starting with AD&D DMG pg. 84? it sets it up for XP without killing. And has been part of every edition since. As for modules. No idea. We've played TONS of save this or solve that type of games. 99% of my play time and DMing has been our own creation since '79. BUT, the rules are clear on it since day one.

Sunday, 16th June, 2019

  • 11:41 PM - Bobble quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    So the reason that violence is so prevalent is due to genre and the roots of RPGing. But I think it can be changed pretty easily when needed. You just need to figure out your play priorities, and then adjust the XP/Advancement system to more closely match them. Find a system that serves what you want rather than a system that dictates how you play. If one actually reads the earlies of the genre it was clear that XP was to be given for accomplishing the goal. Not necessarily killing anything. If one bested or overcame, by whatever means, the bad guys and saved the Princess XP was awarded. Whether out fought or out thought.
  • 09:19 PM - Tony Vargas quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I mean in the broad sense of XP for GP; you could still gain a lot of XP by tricking the dragon or stealing from it as opposed to fighting it. The treasure was the goal, so you were heavily incentivized to get the treasure. Especially the magic items, sure. But, if you killed the monster to get it's treasure, you also got the XP for that - and, everyone got to play, the "More engaging aspect" as well as greater incentive. Trying to trick or steal treasure was probably going to involve just the theif, just the talkiest player, or just the caster using just the right spells. That being said, I wouldnít describe 3Eís skill system as exhaustive. What's a task it didn't cover? But it was certainly an improvement over Non-Weapon Proficiencies, for sure, and the protection of the Thief/Rogue as the only skilled character. It was a step in the right direction. Yes, the direction of making non-combat more engaging, so a more viable alternative to combat... And Iím not blaming the introduc...
  • 05:27 PM - Tony Vargas quoted hawkeyefan in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Iíve found that if the game in question has non-combat mechanics that are as engaging as the combat mechanics, and non-combat rewards on par with the combat rewards, players are much more willing to seek other solutions to in game challenges. That sounds a reasonable observation. Many games have an imbalance between those two elements leaving combat as the preferable method for a variety of reasons. Can't disagree... Early editions of D&D avoided this by granting XP for treasure. But as the game shifted away from dungeon delving as its primary focus, this became problematic in its own way. That hardly seems to follow from the above. Early eds gave exp for combat & treasure, not for non-combat, and had detailed, elaborate rules for combat (many of which were summarily ignored) and far fewer, less consistent, and less engaging rules for other tasks - they also 'niche protected' a lot of exploration abilities in the Thief class. Exp for treasure did nothing to mitigate that - you got more ...


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