A "Why Oh Why" RPG Thread [+]

Emoshin

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
This is a + thread 🙏

This totally experimental thread is for asking questions about anything RPG-related out of a place of curiosity and/or answering questions respectfully in kind.

The intent of this + thread is to have a psychologically-safe, efficient and effective option for Enworlders of all stripes to increase self-learning.

If one wishes to refute or expound one's argument, one is encouraged to create or participate in a different thread, perhaps leveraging the anecdotal data gathered here.

Q&A format

Post a question with some helpful context and the question in bold (so it's clear to everyone what the specific question is)
Here is some context to my question
Why oh why ___________________?

For answers, please reply with your opinion worded in a way that contributes positively.

Curiosity
If you're not sure how to word your question, try asking it with an unpresumptuous inquisitive mindset, like the beginning of a hypothesis to be tested or with child-like curiosity
I observe the sky is blue
Why oh why is the sky blue?

If you're not sure about the wording of your answer, imagine you are responding to a young child, not in a patronizing way, but rather considerately and non-accusatory

Positive feedback
Those who provide answers may also benefit from positive feedback; how else would they know if their answer was helpful or not?
I would suggest that if another Enworlder answers your question fairly, Like it to confirm receipt!


EDIT: updated the + section for clarity
 
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Why oh Why can D&D Wizards be proficient with crossbows but not swords?
Because traditionally magic swords got the best perks (anything from pluses going all the way to five to being able to give the wielder spells-per-day), so being able to wield them was a major class feature given fighting men (and later these newfangled thieves), but denied clerics and magic users.
Why oh why can I read Wraith: The Oblivion five times and still not figure out what the player characters are supposed to do in that game?
Because the developers wanted to include every afterlife trope possible and put so much worldbuilding into it that there was no room left for the PCs to have any affect (except 'make peace with your life' somehow).

I've got one.
Why oh Why do so many non-D&D-esque games focus on things like encumbrance and cost, even though the gameplay loop was never a 'drag as much loot from the dungeon as you can' setup?
 
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Emoshin

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Context: My usual experience is with D&D 5E. Then during the OGL situation, I started reading up on Pathfinder APs to see if there is an alternative I might like. Personally-speaking, I found the PF AP Campaign Background section to be on the longer side, rather complicated and (at least for me) difficult to digest IMHO YMMV.
Why oh why do I find Pathfinder AP campaign backgrounds to be long and complicated?
 
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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I've got one.
Why oh Why do so many games focus on things like encumbrance and cost, even though the gameplay loop was never a 'drag as much loot from the dungeon as you can' setup?
Because in the XP for GP era, that very much was part of the gameplay loop. No it is a vestigial organ, like alignment, in most games. But it is still important to a small subset of gamers who like games where resource management matters. For these players, it is very much part of the game loop. Now that digital character sheets make the calculations automatic, I wonder if we'll see a return of emphasis on encumbrance in TTRPG systems and adventures. Personally I like it better in survival games and am less enthused with spending lots of time trying to collect all the armor and weapons of every defeated enemy to sell back in town like a CRPG.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Why oh why can I read Wraith: The Oblivion five times and still not figure out what the player characters are supposed to do in that game?
In addition to what @Willie the Duck says, it's also because it's not there. It's a game where the developers didn't really have an idea of what the core activity of a group of ghosts should be. Vampires are immortal backstabbers so core activities of feeding and politics fell out naturally. Werewolves they turned into eco warriors. Mages they leaned into the magic vs. technology trope and created the Technocracy. But ghosts? They had promised a game about ghosts but they couldn't figure out what a group of ghosts should do. So they just didn't put it into the game.

That's why Orpheus eventually came out - they figured out something that a group of ghosts could do and went with it.
 

Because in the XP for GP era, that very much was part of the gameplay loop. No it is a vestigial organ, like alignment, in most games. But it is still important to a small subset of gamers who like games where resource management matters. For these players, it is very much part of the game loop. Now that digital character sheets make the calculations automatic, I wonder if we'll see a return of emphasis on encumbrance in TTRPG systems and adventures. Personally I like it better in survival games and am less enthused with spending lots of time trying to collect all the armor and weapons of every defeated enemy to sell back in town like a CRPG.
Yeah, I'm sorry. I should have specified -- why do so many (especially 70s-90s) non-D&D-esque games, those that never had a gp-->xp model, focus on such things? It makes sense for TSR-era D&D and games like Aftermath, but few others (and cost for several more like Traveller or Shadowrun). Yet I think White Wolf WoD games were the first I ran into where someone realized 'these aren't going to frequently be relevant to the characters so much as to have exacting subsystems to account for them.'
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Why oh why do GM's think they are game designers?

I'm as guilty of this as anyone; I don't know how many times I've seen house rules made that the GM in question is inordinately proud of, and you think about it for a second and you notice there's a glaring flaw in their logic.

The original 3.5 "Armor is Damage Reduction" is an example I like to use (even if, sadly, it was made by actual game designers).

"Hey what if, instead of making you harder to hit, armor made you take less damage?"

"Don't we have a rather commonly taken Feat that lets you trade accuracy for damage?"

I remember playing in a game where the DM had this complicated resource management system for traversing the wilds, where you had to track "ration points", and we flat out busted it with a level 5 Cleric and someone with a good Survival check, because he didn't take into account the abilities players already had to trivialize wilderness survival.
 
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