D&D 5E Combat as war, sport, or ??

And yet many people engage in a more simulation-oriented style of play, and prefer that the setting exist independently of the PCs. How are they able to do that?
I also prefer that the setting exist independently of the PCs.

The two are unrelated. The world exists. You cannot see it from any vantage point except your own two eyeballs. Both are true.
 

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Micah Sweet

Legend
I also prefer that the setting exist independently of the PCs.

The two are unrelated. The world exists. You cannot see it from any vantage point except your own two eyeballs. Both are true.
The DM generally has a higher vantage point than the PCs, and that's what I'm concerned about. Even as a player, I want the world to be viewed from the DMs point of view.
 

This was the core of my problem with 4e. As a DM, playing it the way they intended felt like the world was a holodeck and the PCs were the only real people.

Oooooooor the world was a story being told, and thus the beings in it are filtered through the lens of what is actually relevant to the people participating in that story.
I'm not actually sure these two points are in disagreement, aside from the first one casting the situation as tonally negative, and the second as positive. Isn't that latter situation exactly how a holodeck works in those classic Sherlock Holmes TNG episodes?

I mean, it's literally not possible to do that. You cannot not tell the story from the perspective of the people experiencing it.

Especially if you ever engage in even the smallest forms of illusionism, which I know is quite a popular technique around here. Like...how is illusionism okay but this stuff isn't?
Sure, but that's documentary verse scripted film. You still have a camera and it doesn't see everything, but you didn't get to compose the cinematography outside of what to frame in the lense.

The illusionism point is entirely off topic. You know I have strong feelings against illusionism, and I prefer a system with a consistently modeled fictional world. It's a whole different question.

Having a loose connection between the fictional world and the mechanics modeling is a design choice that serves some goals better and worse, not a natural evolution. We're not talking about a move from THAC0 to ascending AC because the latter mechanic is consistently easier to use and ultimately value neutral, in that it doesn't meaningfully constrain the design space or advance specific design goals/play styles.
 

The DM generally has a higher vantage point than the PCs, and that's what I'm concerned about. Even as a player, I want the world to be viewed from the DMs point of view.
Okay. Why?

The world is only experienced as a world from the perspective of the players. From the DM's view, it is not and cannot ever be a thing that exists independently.

You can have a fantasy world that exists independently of the players in it. You cannot have a world that exists independently of the DM who generates it. Because nothing in that world exists unless the DM says it does; it is, by definition, an extension of the DM's self.
 

The illusionism point is entirely off topic.
I'm not sure why. Illusionism is the act of presenting the world as though it were one thing when it is not. Specifically, it presents the appearance of natural continuity and concreteness when it is in fact neither concrete nor continuous: the ogre is quantum, the spooky haunted house is located on whatever road the players take, the suspect latched onto by the players is actually innocent. There is no fact of the matter, just an illusory presentation of there being a fact of the matter.

Conversely, with varying mechanical representation, you absolutely still can have a fact of the matter. That fact is simply representational and relational. An ogre is strong relative to a town guardsman. There is no such thing as truly absolute strength; it is always relative to some chosen standard.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I also prefer that the setting exist independently of the PCs.

The two are unrelated. The world exists. You cannot see it from any vantage point except your own two eyeballs. Both are true.
And what you see from your own (character's) two eyeballs should in theory be exactly the same as what every other inhabitant of the setting would see through theirs; and the mechanics of those things should therefore reflect that similarity*.

This cannot be possible if something's mechanics change based on the viewer's perception, because a change in mechanics means a change in the reality those mechanics are reflecting.

* - as in, a 64 hit-point Ogre has 64 hit points no matter which inhabitant(s) of the setting might be viewing or interacting with it.
 

And what you see from your own (character's) two eyeballs should in theory be exactly the same as what every other inhabitant of the setting would see through theirs; and the mechanics of those things should therefore reflect that similarity*.

This cannot be possible if something's mechanics change based on the viewer's perception, because a change in mechanics means a change in the reality those mechanics are reflecting.

* - as in, a 64 hit-point Ogre has 64 hit points no matter which inhabitant(s) of the setting might be viewing or interacting with it.
What do hit points physically represent?

They don't. That's my point. They don't actually have any tie to physical reality. They are a mechanical construct that is almost purely abstracted. Especially the very last one.

A minion (the usual go-to berserk button for critics of 4e) is simply making that abstraction easier to use. It recognizes that, for a sufficiently high-level character, it's merely a matter of "did you hit or not?" for whether the creature in question survives. Hence, rather than bothering with the time-draining bookkeeping (which so many old school fans claim to hate!) of checking every target's HP and keeping tabs on all this crap, you just simplify the abstraction from "this is roughly how many hits this creature takes to die" to "this creature only really needs one solid hit to die, but solid hits aren't as easy as glancing blows."

There is still a concrete reality. When we use mechanics, we are necessarily dealing with an abstraction. We should make that abstraction serve us, not the other way around.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'm not sure why. Illusionism is the act of presenting the world as though it were one thing when it is not. Specifically, it presents the appearance of natural continuity and concreteness when it is in fact neither concrete nor continuous: the ogre is quantum, the spooky haunted house is located on whatever road the players take,
Both of these are IMO also examples of either bad design or bad DMing.
the suspect latched onto by the players is actually innocent.
While this one is merely the PCs discovering an actual setting fact that they had originally mistaken. (but only if the DM knows who the guilty party is ahead of time, otherwise it's more of the same poor technique)
Conversely, with varying mechanical representation, you absolutely still can have a fact of the matter. That fact is simply representational and relational. An ogre is strong relative to a town guardsman.
Neither a variable nor a range can properly represent a fact. X-squared is not a fact until the value of X is defined. 2-12 is not a fact until (in this example) 2d6 are rolled and totalled to give a result; that result is the fact.
here is no such thing as truly absolute strength; it is always relative to some chosen standard.
The Ogre's strength being 18 is a fact. The Ogre being stronger than Bob (16) but weaker than Jelessa (19) is the relative part.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What do hit points physically represent?

They don't. That's my point. They don't actually have any tie to physical reality.
In your view, maybe. In mine they tie to a bunch of things - "meat", toughness, stamina, sometimes sheer bloody-mindedness - and they are also vaguely able to be reverse-reflected in the fiction in that it soon becomes apparent that someone is tougher (or not!) than they look.
They are a mechanical construct that is almost purely abstracted. Especially the very last one.
The 1-to-0 hit point gap is a design flaw I've been on about since I started playing. There's ways around it, to a point, but people complain about them because those ways invariably both add complexity and make characters a bit easier to kill.
A minion (the usual go-to berserk button for critics of 4e) is simply making that abstraction easier to use. It recognizes that, for a sufficiently high-level character, it's merely a matter of "did you hit or not?" for whether the creature in question survives. Hence, rather than bothering with the time-draining bookkeeping (which so many old school fans claim to hate!) of checking every target's HP and keeping tabs on all this crap, you just simplify the abstraction from "this is roughly how many hits this creature takes to die" to "this creature only really needs one solid hit to die, but solid hits aren't as easy as glancing blows."
That degree of abstraction is way too coarse for me; never mind that big creatures who would normally have lots of h.p. (giants, e.g.) aren't going to be one-shotted by even the mightiest of warriors except maybe on a lucky crit.
There is still a concrete reality. When we use mechanics, we are necessarily dealing with an abstraction. We should make that abstraction serve us, not the other way around.
I get the sentiment, but I fail to see how varying mechanics upholds it in any way. The abstraction serves me best when it builds and-or reflects a solid consistent setting that works reliably in as many different situations as possible, and works the same for everyone in the setting whether PC or NPC.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Okay. Why?

The world is only experienced as a world from the perspective of the players. From the DM's view, it is not and cannot ever be a thing that exists independently.

You can have a fantasy world that exists independently of the players in it. You cannot have a world that exists independently of the DM who generates it. Because nothing in that world exists unless the DM says it does; it is, by definition, an extension of the DM's self.
Okay. I'm not sure where the disagreement lies here. The world feels more real to me when every element in it has characteristics independent of the PCs perspective. Whether I created the element as the DM, or I experienced the element as a PC. My immersion in my own created world is increased by this independence from the PCs perspective. Call it illusionism if you will.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I'm not sure why. Illusionism is the act of presenting the world as though it were one thing when it is not. Specifically, it presents the appearance of natural continuity and concreteness when it is in fact neither concrete nor continuous: the ogre is quantum, the spooky haunted house is located on whatever road the players take, the suspect latched onto by the players is actually innocent. There is no fact of the matter, just an illusory presentation of there being a fact of the matter.

Conversely, with varying mechanical representation, you absolutely still can have a fact of the matter. That fact is simply representational and relational. An ogre is strong relative to a town guardsman. There is no such thing as truly absolute strength; it is always relative to some chosen standard.
I don't want relational facts. I want independent facts.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
What do hit points physically represent?

They don't. That's my point. They don't actually have any tie to physical reality. They are a mechanical construct that is almost purely abstracted. Especially the very last one.

A minion (the usual go-to berserk button for critics of 4e) is simply making that abstraction easier to use. It recognizes that, for a sufficiently high-level character, it's merely a matter of "did you hit or not?" for whether the creature in question survives. Hence, rather than bothering with the time-draining bookkeeping (which so many old school fans claim to hate!) of checking every target's HP and keeping tabs on all this crap, you just simplify the abstraction from "this is roughly how many hits this creature takes to die" to "this creature only really needs one solid hit to die, but solid hits aren't as easy as glancing blows."

There is still a concrete reality. When we use mechanics, we are necessarily dealing with an abstraction. We should make that abstraction serve us, not the other way around.
That was my issue with 4e: it emphasized the abstraction more than I was comfortable with.
 




Why not? In a system that allows for it, I certainly can finish creating an NPC, and then model their interactions with the rest of the world exactly as a PC. The only difference is that I as the DM am the decision making force behind them, instead of a different person.
There is no fact about the fictional world which exists independently of you having made it so, and no fact about the fictional world or its contents which remains true other than because you will it to be so. The instant you actually desire it any such fact to be false, it is false.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
There is no fact about the fictional world which exists independently of you having made it so, and no fact about the fictional world or its contents which remains true other than because you will it to be so. The instant you actually desire it any such fact to be false, it is false.
Not if you're playing fair according that style. Once you create something in the game, it's true unless circumstances or the PCs change it.
 

Not if you're playing fair according that style. Once you create something in the game, it's true unless circumstances or the PCs change it.
.... which are the conditions under which you would desire to change it. Exactly like I said.

The literal one and only limit is your choice. And even then, more than one user on here has explicitly said they would do things that violate what has been established as true if it would, in their opinion, produce a better game as a result. I believe you have even agreed with that position, supporting the idea that the DM knows better than the players what said players will enjoy.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
.... which are the conditions under which you would desire to change it. Exactly like I said.

The literal one and only limit is your choice. And even then, more than one user on here has explicitly said they would do things that violate what has been established as true if it would, in their opinion, produce a better game as a result. I believe you have even agreed with that position, supporting the idea that the DM knows better than the players what said players will enjoy.
I don't remember that exchange exactly. I would prefer to let the world run from campaign start, with events occurring based on existing factors or PC action (or possibly a random table. Tables are fun).
 

I don't remember that exchange exactly. I would prefer to let the world run from campaign start, with events occurring based on existing factors or PC action (or possibly a random table. Tables are fun).
So, if a table generated a response that you were absolutely, 100% certain would harm the enjoyment of your players, you would proceed without reservation?
 

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