A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life - Page 237
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadras View Post
    Is D&D more realistic for attempting, however abstract the system is, to include AC as opposed to having every attack be an automatic hit?
    No. A combat resolution system which works by stipulated attrition rather than randomised attrition would not be more unrealistic.

    (Such a system could of course factor armour into the determination of what is stipulated. I assume that many wargames of this sort have actually been published and played.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeyefan View Post
    I think you need to stop and give it some thought, Max.

    You just said that having cow farts break swords is more realistic than swords not breaking.

    You know some swords dont break, right?
    In 5e ALL swords don't break. You see the difference, right?

    Sure, everything wears down eventually. But most RPG campaigns have a beginning and an end. So within the scope of an RPG campaign, its perfectly reasonable to not have any swords break.
    Most campaigns last longer than weeks, and involve fights. Even one fight against something with hard scales, metal armor, weapons, etc. will cause nicks that need to be fixed. If your campaign only lasts a very, very, VERY short time and has no fights with anything other than oozes and other super soft things, then sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    Blades in the Dark, fir example, has no AC mechanic at all, much less any specific mechanics for combat that are in any way different from sneaking past a guard. Yet, you can have broken or damaged weapons, sucking chest wounds, minor scratches, and many other interesting and "realistic" outcomes of a fight with deadly weapons. 5e, for example, has detailed, combat specific rules, yet generates none of these things. Which is the more "realistic"?

    You seem to be focused on game processes being the way to introduce "realism". I disagree this is appropriate.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    There's a dufference between process and resultant fictions. "Realism," to me, can only be judged at the fiction, not the process. However, all of your arguments so far about adding "realism" have been about adding additional processes. I'm pointing out that process is not required for "realism."
    @Sadras, Ovinomancer here is saying to you much the same things as I said to @Maxperson upthread.

    I didn't mention BitD, as I don't play that game - I mentioned Prince Valiant, Cortex+ Heroic and BW as games that permit these various things through a mixture of processes (especially important in BW) and GM narration of consequences - which is my guess as to how it is handled in BitD. (If that guess is wrong then @hawkeyefan or @Ovinomancer can correct me.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sadras View Post
    Isn't the shorthand for this realism. Will you be happy with more authentic? more immersive? more RL illusionary? more dramatic? I mean looking for a better description/buzz-word is just playing silly buggers...
    It's not just playing silly buggers - the fact that you think it is means that maybe you've missed @AbdulAlhazred's point.

    That point was the following: one effect of the AD&D DMG disease system may be that a PC, on some occasion of play, suffers a disease which debilitates him/her for a little while. And that may increase the player's sense of the authenticity of the fiction, the setting, the play experience.

    But that doesn't mean that the system is a remotely realistic one, nor even that this episode of disease contraction was realistic.

    Good RPG design, I think, has to be concscious of the fact that it's systems are not world models but rather devices for producing particular experiences among participants in a game. If you want that experience to include contracting a disease then you may need a quite unrealistic model of disease contraction in order to ensure this has a chance of coming into play.

    I think some early systems, like classic D&D, RQ and Traveller, are a bit confused about this aspect of design. A fairly obvious D&D example is the City/Town encounter matrix in the AD&D DMG Appendix C. If we treated that table as a model of the prevalence of powerful fighters, undead, demons etc in typical AD&D urban settlements the result would be ridiculous - how would anyone ever survive? If we treat it as a tool for ensuring that the players, via their PCs, will have urban encounter experiences that emulate (say) REH's stories about Conan's urban exploits, then the logic of the table becomes much clearer.

    You can also see various sorts of workarounds. Eg the Moldvay Basic rules and even AD&D rules tend to ensure that 1st level fighters will have better armour and hence better ACs than the orcs and kobolds they might have to fight - so the combat system can approximate to "world simulation", but we use game logic in another place (here, allocation of equipment) to help ensure that the play experience comes out correctly. Likewise, D&D PC generation rules tend to ensure that the players, especially at low levels, will have access to more and more potent magic than their adversaries.

    Would it be "more realistic" for 1st level D&D fighters to have the same sort of armour as the orcish warriors and town militia that make up their world? Maybe, but I've rarely seen that particular brand of realism advocated for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    In 5e ALL swords don't break. You see the difference, right?
    This isn't true, though. Nothing in the 5e rules precludes a GM narrating a scene in which NPC A fights NPC B and NPC A's sword breaks.

    In some circumstances, a GM is probably also entitled to narrate that a PC's sword breaks.

    It's true that the combat resolution procedures don't produce broken swords, but it's clear in the 5e rules that those are not the only method the game permits to generate fiction about swords.
    Last edited by pemerton; Thursday, 25th April, 2019 at 04:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    For you perhaps. For me it's realism all the way.



    That's quite literally impossible. No system = 0 realism and you can't go below 0 realism. If you include ANY system of breakage at all, even cow farts cause breakage, you are adding some realism as breakage exists in reality and now it exists in the game. It may be a very, very, VERY amount of realism, but it's there. Some realism is greater than no realism.



    Everything wears down and eventually breaks in real life. Even mountains. Never having a weapon wear down = 0 realism, which is less realistic than some realism, which any system of breakage will have.



    This is not true. Many of us find meaning in the realism that we add to the game. Just because YOU can't find any meaning without incredible amounts of math, doesn't make that a requirement for realism to have meaning. It just doesn't satisfy you, which is fine. You don't have to add additional realism to your game.
    This makes no sense. If weapon breakage happens in reality once in ten millions then a rule of not breaking at all is more accurate and realistic than a rule of 0.01%
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    But within what we make up we have to be consistent or the whole house of cards comes down. If the party hear of a village that's known for its fine sword-making then logic would strongly suggest there's going to be one or two (or more!) top-notch smithies there or thereabouts when the party visit. Conversely, if the party arrive there and find these top-notch smithies they might be justified in asking why they hadn't heard of this place before when previously inquiring where good weaponry may be found.

    If the party visit a town ruled by Baron Farengard logic would strongly suggest that the locals will at least know of said Baron when the party six months later return there seeking him, even if he's died in the meantime. Conversely, if the party have previously asked for the names of which nobles rule which areas/regions/towns and been told this town doesn't have a noble ruler they'd be justified in asking wtf on arriving at the town and being expected to present themselves before long-time local ruler Baron Farengard.
    Quote Originally Posted by AbdulAlhazred View Post
    Right, so in my scene framing type of process I reveal some information which says "Boyleston has a reputation for fine swordsmiths" then of course if the PCs end up in Boyleston, guess what they will find? This is hardly difficult. Likewise if the party is in Trenton and nobody has ever suggested that Trenton has top-notch smithies, then probably when the desire to find one comes up, the answer will be "gosh, you should have gone to Boyleston!" This doesn't seem harder in my game than in others.

    I would also observe that it is quite possible to happen to show up in Boyleston without knowing much about the town and then learn from observation that it is a swordsmithing center. Depending on the characters and circumstances that might be more or less plausible. If it seems implausible then 'zero myth' certainly makes it trivial to remove that implausibility by simply not making it so. In that case it might later be established that the swordsmiths are all in Trenton.

    <snip>

    these are all simply matters of basic consistency. Of course the locals will know of the baron if he did/does rule them. Likewise if it has been established that no one rules the town, then said fact will (or should) remain consistently true, or else some justification should exist for why it changed or why the PCs were deceived.
    Just to add to what AbdulAlhazred has said - this all seems like very basic stuff. How does it support an argument that "no myth" RPGing must generate inconsistencies in the fiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    the question is more one of how much of that depth and richness do your players ever get to see or hear about - should they so desire - beyond that which is in the framed scenes?
    I don't quite understand.

    Are you asking - what do I do if my players want to read Appendix B (ie a Tolkien-esuqe timeline)? In that case, I tell them that there is no Appendix B. They can imagine it to be whatever they want! This is not unlike eg REH's Conan stories. If I'm wondering what was in the other rooms of the tower in Tower of the Elephant, there's no wikipedia page or diary entry - I just have to use my imagination.

    If you're asking - what do I do if I want to include campaign elements in play nut not as part of the context of presenting the fiction to the players? Then I think this is contradictory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    This isn't true, though. Nothing in the 5e rules precludes a GM narrating a scene in which NPC A fights NPC B and NPC A's sword breaks.

    In some circumstances, a GM is probably also entitled to narrate that a PC's sword breaks.

    It's true that the combat resolution procedures don't produce broken swords, but it's clear in the 5e rules that those are not the only method the game permits to generate fiction about swords.
    If the DM adds in breakage like that, he's adding some realism to the game. As it stands, 5e doesn't have breakage unless the DM adds it in in some way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurviak View Post
    This makes no sense. If weapon breakage happens in reality once in ten millions then a rule of not breaking at all is more accurate and realistic than a rule of 0.01%
    It happens in reality quite a bit more often than that.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meln41VHxqs

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    A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    It happens in reality quite a bit more often than that.
    Do you have statistics to backup that claim?

    BTW I was making up those numbers to make a point about not any rule been more realistic than no rule, and not to give any approximation to real numbers.
    Last edited by Kurviak; Thursday, 25th April, 2019 at 05:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurviak View Post
    Do you have statistics to backup that claim?

    BTW I was making up those numbers to make a point about not any rule been more realistic than no rule, and not to give any approximation to real numbers.
    It still fails.

    If weapon breakage happens in reality once in ten millions then a rule of not breaking at all is more accurate and realistic than a rule of 0.01%
    The numbers can be off. What's more important is that the system moves towards an aspect of real life, in the case of your example, breaking. Breaking(system) is like breaking(real life). Not breaking(no system) is not like breaking(real life). Sure, having a .00001 is more realistic than .01, but that doesn't stop .01 from being more realistic than 0, because 0 removes all chance at breaking, where in "real life" weapons break.

    Like @AbdulAlhazred, you are too focused on the math, and not focused enough on realism. The math is irrelevant, except to add greater realism if you want to go there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    @Sadras, Ovinomancer here is saying to you much the same things as I said to @Maxperson upthread.

    I didn't mention BitD, as I don't play that game - I mentioned Prince Valiant, Cortex+ Heroic and BW as games that permit these various things through a mixture of processes (especially important in BW) and GM narration of consequences - which is my guess as to how it is handled in BitD. (If that guess is wrong then @hawkeyefan or @Ovinomancer can correct me.)

    It's not just playing silly buggers - the fact that you think it is means that maybe you've missed @AbdulAlhazred's point.

    That point was the following: one effect of the AD&D DMG disease system may be that a PC, on some occasion of play, suffers a disease which debilitates him/her for a little while. And that may increase the player's sense of the authenticity of the fiction, the setting, the play experience.

    But that doesn't mean that the system is a remotely realistic one, nor even that this episode of disease contraction was realistic.

    Good RPG design, I think, has to be concscious of the fact that it's systems are not world models but rather devices for producing particular experiences among participants in a game. If you want that experience to include contracting a disease then you may need a quite unrealistic model of disease contraction in order to ensure this has a chance of coming into play.

    I think some early systems, like classic D&D, RQ and Traveller, are a bit confused about this aspect of design. A fairly obvious D&D example is the City/Town encounter matrix in the AD&D DMG Appendix C. If we treated that table as a model of the prevalence of powerful fighters, undead, demons etc in typical AD&D urban settlements the result would be ridiculous - how would anyone ever survive? If we treat it as a tool for ensuring that the players, via their PCs, will have urban encounter experiences that emulate (say) REH's stories about Conan's urban exploits, then the logic of the table becomes much clearer.

    You can also see various sorts of workarounds. Eg the Moldvay Basic rules and even AD&D rules tend to ensure that 1st level fighters will have better armour and hence better ACs than the orcs and kobolds they might have to fight - so the combat system can approximate to "world simulation", but we use game logic in another place (here, allocation of equipment) to help ensure that the play experience comes out correctly. Likewise, D&D PC generation rules tend to ensure that the players, especially at low levels, will have access to more and more potent magic than their adversaries.

    Would it be "more realistic" for 1st level D&D fighters to have the same sort of armour as the orcish warriors and town militia that make up their world? Maybe, but I've rarely seen that particular brand of realism advocated for.

    This isn't true, though. Nothing in the 5e rules precludes a GM narrating a scene in which NPC A fights NPC B and NPC A's sword breaks.

    In some circumstances, a GM is probably also entitled to narrate that a PC's sword breaks.

    It's true that the combat resolution procedures don't produce broken swords, but it's clear in the 5e rules that those are not the only method the game permits to generate fiction about swords.
    Right, these are key points. Systems like the 1e Disease system, or encounter tables and such, are not meant to produce realism. Gygax flat out says (as @lowkey13 IIRC stated a couple pages back) that D&D isn't trying to be realistic. Its trying to be a fun game. The disease table may create what I called a more authentic experience. Likewise the city encounter table can produce a more genre-appropriate, and thus I would label 'authentic' experience. Neither of these is realistic in any sense I'm aware of, and probably the disease system is less realistic, by the measure of "close to what might happen in a real life situation similar to that found in the game" in terms of disease.

    RPGs produce game experiences, fun and entertaining activities for the players in which they can imagine things happening to them which are largely, to be perfectly blunt, utterly unrealistic. Clearly this is very well understood, as there's a famous cartoon in the 1e DMG,


    The joke was obviously that nobody would ever want to play normal people in the real world. It is amusing because D&D is making fun of itself by pointing out that it is NOT serious about being realistic, because realism would be like playing 'papers and paychecks', the most boring and silliest game imaginable!

    The quest for some sort of realism, or even excessive levels of authenticity in some ways, is really quite quixotic.
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