Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't care about numbers... - Page 6
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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadras View Post
    I'm with the OP.

    Our group once played a D&D adventure (4 sessions) where the only information on the character sheet was:
    • Name;
    • Sex;
    • 2 Skills/Proficiencies;
    • 2 Primary Abilities (with no figures); and
    • Equipment

    The group enjoyed it and the storyline moved fast - focussing mostly on the exploration (primarily) and social pillars. We used something similar to the SIEGE mechanic of Castles and Crusades. If a task involved a Primary Ability or Proficiency/Skill we lowered the difficulty as per normal.

    I'm in the mood to run a political storyline along the same lines, but this time focus primarily on the social pillar, leaving exploration as secondary and combat as tertiary. I just have to think up a good political-thriller.

    That's about the extent of the information you get for PCs in Prince Valiant.


    http://www.creativemountaingames.com...game-1989.html

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pickles JG View Post
    It is probably one reason I like 4e monster manual when loads of people hated it. I could draw on the rich flavour of the 2e books & apply it to the clean mechanical implementations in 4e. If I had only got the 4e I can see why people would have found it dry at best (as I did for things like Swordwings with no history in the game. )
    I did not like 4E in general but very much liked the MM for the way it laid out stats -- exactly because I don't care about numbers. I don't want to have have to build an orc barbarian, with class levels and feats and the whole bit. I want to be able to open to Orc, Berserker and go. I give a little bit of a pass to creatures with spells (which are inherently complex) but don't make me do all the work implementing and calculating feats in.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by keterys View Post
    Nah, 4E was lasered in on D&D as an action movie. It was very much about the story/plot, as any well designed blockbuster might be. It _was_ an awful lot less about exploring corridors 10-ft at a time and tracking rations, for sure, but even much maligned skill challenges were actually a story device.

    There are definitely groups who got distracted by the combat-sport side of it and basically just did monster mashes, though. I've seen it happen for any system. I remember it coming up in every Storyteller game, for instance.

    There are also plenty of people whose eyes rolled back into their heads at the formulaic nature of powers and classes, and in boredom saw no more of the system. I even know some hardened rules junkies who hit that problem.

    But anti-story? Nope, not an edition feature.
    I don't think it's a question of being anti-story, per se, nor do I think that's what Herobizkit is trying to imply. Rather, I suspect his experience is a bit like mine. We also experienced 4e's laser focus on the action-movie aspect of D&D. And we found, for our relatively short weekly game on Thursday nights, that laser-focus pretty much crowded out everything else - like the story/plot which the elaborate combats 4e features left us too little time to interact with. While it may be that groups can find that happening with any system, it was happening to us with 4e. Faced with a choice between cutting combat down with house rules or ditching 4e in general, we happily ditched 4e.

    My gut feeling is that 4e was so focused on producing a particular mathematical experience that it was ill suited to the campaign we really wanted to play. We had much more favorable experiences with 3e, Star Wars Saga Edition, as well as 1e AD&D. 5e, so far, looks like a better fit as well and we will probably kick the tires on the Starter Set tonight and see how it goes. The playtesting we did was definitely encouraging.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    Faced with a choice between cutting combat down with house rules or ditching 4e in general, we happily ditched 4e.
    Ah, yeah, I hit that same problem with 3E, HERO, Dragon Age, etc. Folks want a fair share of combat, but you want to avoid "boring easy encounters" so have big knockdown dragfests that can take hours.

    I really wish I had a magic wand that just made people faster at the combat portions of the game. Take your turn, it's okay to make a mistake. Hell, it might be more interesting!

    So far 13th Age has struck a better balance for me, but even then things can take a bit too long. I had more mixed results with 5E depending on what resources people brought to bear. A combat with 30 goblins or whatever without big spells made me near weep with boredom, while one with fireballs and such went fairly smoothly (albeit super easily).

    I'm still looking for a system that has sufficient granularity in the action/tactical section that the results can feel real, but not so much that it feels like it's too caught up in nitty gritty details (+1 for high ground, -2 on slippery floor, let me refer to this chart for this effect, etc).

    To be honest, I think I want something closer to FATE but with a more fun execution (the dice rolls and such felt very bland to me). That way people can dig for advantages and set them up, then get the job done; more about thinking about the situation and less about optimizing character, figuring out levels, and eking out +1s from this, +1 from that.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by keterys View Post
    I'm still looking for a system that has sufficient granularity in the action/tactical section that the results can feel real, but not so much that it feels like it's too caught up in nitty gritty details (+1 for high ground, -2 on slippery floor, let me refer to this chart for this effect, etc).

    To be honest, I think I want something closer to FATE but with a more fun execution (the dice rolls and such felt very bland to me). That way people can dig for advantages and set them up, then get the job done; more about thinking about the situation and less about optimizing character, figuring out levels, and eking out +1s from this, +1 from that.
    Feng Shui has been the go-to game for that sort of thing with one of the groups I play with - and, I think, because of that we never felt any need to even try out 4e in that group. We already had our action-cinema game - and had already adapted it for a Lord of the Rings game (Legolas with Carnival of Carnage is a fun sight to behold).

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark CMG View Post
    That's about the extent of the information you get for PCs in Prince Valiant.

    http://www.creativemountaingames.com...game-1989.html
    Thank you for the link, great summary and story. Our group would have definitely enjoyed that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickles JG View Post
    While that is unquestionably roleplaying I would argue that it is not D&D or at least it doesn not reflect the essence of D&D. I do not need a bunch of rule books to run that sort of game, I just need a bit of a story & player buy in.
    From this I gather that for you a bunch of rule books reflect the essence of D&D, or at least you seem to imply this from the quote above.

    I think I'd rather prefer @Olgar Shiverstone's sig, being a quote from WizarDru
    "The Soul of D&D? It's rolling a natural 20 when you're down to 3 hit points and the cleric's on the floor and you're staring that sunnavabitch bugbear right in his bloodshot eye and holding the line just long enough to let the wizard unleash a fireball at the guards who are on their way, because they're all that stands between you, the Foozle and Glory." - WizarDru

    The reason I am able to run a game like the one I have described is because of my experience as a DM and reading the bunch of rule books you reflect as the essence of D&D. A DM determines the level of difficulty for many tasks in every edition - which is exactly what I was doing for each one of the pillars. Determining if the task was easy, medium, hard..etc based on the situation in the narrative. So I'd argue what we played was and is D&D.
    We will have to just agree to continue arguing

    I do not find these have the longevity of games that engage on multiple levels though.
    Perhaps you are right on this, I certainly don't have the experience to comment. The PCs were young (runaways). I was slowly building details on their character sheets...to level 1, but although the adventure was a success and PCs accomplished what they had to - it ended in a TPK (long story). And that is where we ended it.

    It is probably one reason I like 4e monster manual when loads of people hated it. I could draw on the rich flavour of the 2e books & apply it to the clean mechanical implementations in 4e.
    You have just described me . Although I don't believe loads of people hated the 4e MM. I dislike there was errata, but I'm sure that's everyone. I missed the fluff sure, but I adapted using my 2e Monstrous Manual and even the 3e ones. But other than that, 4e MM was great, at least for me. I appreciated the system's monster powers much more so than the system's PC powers.

  7. #57
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    Talking about the numbers is important because that's pretty much what we're buying; we're paying for rule books. You don't need a book to tell you how to pretend to be an elf and have a collaborative story-making experience with friends.

    Rule systems help determine how the DM can set up adventures and encounters and players use their resolution mechanics to determine the outcome of their actions. If numbers are poorly computed, this can make things harder for everyone to play the game and enjoy it.

    DMs are supposed to use difficulty numbers, Challenge Ratings, and encounter creation rules to make crunchy challenges for players. If things like CR in 3E and seemingly 5E are wonky and actually don't accurately tell you how strong monsters are, then the chances of the DM accidentally making an encounter too hard (to the point of TPK) or too easy (to the point of being a bore) is increased. Personally, I had a much easier time making encounters for my players in 4E than I ever did in 3E because the math is so concrete.

    Mechanics and numbers can make it hard for a player to actually play the character she wants. In the current 3E campaign I'm in, I'm annoyed at my unarmed brawler. She's your typical wise monk that's a great martial artist. Only in combat I barely make a difference compared to the super damage-dealing knife thrower or have the battlefield control of the wizard. Because the game kinda conspires against martial fighters and monks are an especially badly designed class, I'm not having as much fun as I could have.

    People talk about the numbers because they want to play the half-orc wizard or the lawn gnome-wielding fighter or whatever other "unoptimized" neat idea... They just don't want to be punished for it by badly formulated rules.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by keterys View Post
    Nah, 4E was lasered in on D&D as an action movie. It was very much about the story/plot, as any well designed blockbuster might be. It _was_ an awful lot less about exploring corridors 10-ft at a time and tracking rations, for sure
    Right.

  9. #59
    Other than what it takes to play the game, I don't care about numbers. I don't care about balance between races and classes. I have been playing rpgs since the 70s, and neither of those things have either been an issue in the games I DM/GM or the games in which I play.

  10. #60
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    I care about games as games. Numbers and the math should act in service of players making informed decisions and making a meaningful impact on the play experience, either positively or negatively. If they don't they should get out of the way, but mostly they should help provide a meaningful play experience. The magic of games is that they provide some objective we usually wouldn't care about that we strive to realize and teach us how to learn to accomplish things. Without informed decision making the entire excise is something I consider ultimately futile.

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