D&D General D&D isn't a simulation game, so what is???

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Although I've enjoyed playing and tweaking 5E D&D, we all know it is not a simulation game. But it got me wondering, since I have heard of many other RPGs but not played many "fantasy/D&D-style" RPGs, maybe members here might know of an RPG that IS more of a simulation game?

A recent encounter with a manticore, which although it "fled" we managed to take it down after 3 (or 4 maybe) rounds of pot-shots (mostly at disadvantage due to the range), got me thinking about the "flaws" in the design of 5E--such as a flying creature's speed.

So, any suggestions for a swords & sorcery medieval fantasy style RPG that is more of a simulation than D&D???
 

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jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
Chivalry & Sorcery is heavily focused on reality simulation or, at least, verisimilitude. Whether it achieves that end or not is debatable, but it (especially in earlier editions*) was very, very, detail-oriented and mechanically designed to provide fantasy realism.

*I haven't played the last three editions.
 

GreyLord

Legend
It's a Roleplaying game.

Like Final Fantasy is a Computer Roleplaying game. You can recreate stories and games that have things from real life in them, but you can't replicate the same things in real life.

If you get away from Roleplaying games, you can look at Risk (the boardgame).

I don't think that strategically Iceland is the key to taking Europe from the West, or that Brazil is the Key to taking the Americas and blocking things off from the East...nor that Indonesia is one of the most strategically stringent points for a strong player defense in the world....but there you go.

The Rules are to make the game fun and interesting to play.

If it actually replicated real life...

1) Many already deal with the realities of real life already...do they really want to play a game with the same rules? (I mean there are some that do...but there are many that don't).

2) The rules to actually replicate something accurately, even to a medium level would be inordinately complex. How many calculations do we really want to do to see if you are able to climb the wall 10 feet, or figure out how to open a can without a can opener, or even jog a 100 meters while jumping over rain puddles and dodging smaller puddles of water?
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
If you get away from Roleplaying games, you can look at Risk (the boardgame).
A board game is not an RPG, which in the OP I specifically addressed I am looking for. ;)

1) Many already deal with the realities of real life already...do they really want to play a game with the same rules? (I mean there are some that do...but there are many that don't).
I am still looking for a fantasy RPG, not a game that deals with the realities of the players' real life.

A simple example is the concepts in the thread about what a STR 20 represents. Because 5E is not a simulation, it doesn't do a good job of modelling what people can do IRL. We've seen numerous threads on this. Using 5E's movement rules, you would need a Speed of over 100 to run a world-recorder 100-meter sprint. Now, a 17th-level monk using Step of the Wind could do this, but to imply all professional sprinters are tier 4 monks is ridiculous of course!

The manticore's flight speed of 50 is ridiculous. It translates (via a Dash action) into less than 12 mph. Most creatures that fly travel at two to three times that rate and can go much faster in many cases.

Finally, the English longbow with people shooting it two to even four times in 6 seconds is just plain silly. An archer using a longbow in medieval times would average closer to one shot in 6 seconds, and prolonged shooting at all would lead to muscle fatigue quickly.

I could continue to tweak 5E to make it more of a simulation of real-life and actual historical accuracy, but as I said in the OP, I am wondering if there is anything already out there...

2) The rules to actually replicate something accurately, even to a medium level would be inordinately complex. How many calculations do we really want to do to see if you are able to climb the wall 10 feet, or figure out how to open a can without a can opener, or even jog a 100 meters while jumping over rain puddles and dodging smaller puddles of water?
Not really. More complex than 5E? Certainly! But it depends on the level of accuracy in replication that determines the level of complexity. 5E has a very low level of complexity so does a poor job of accurate replication--maybe another RPG does it better? I know it will be more complex than 5E--and I am perfectly fine with that. :)
 


Hussar

Legend
I have no experience with any of these games, so, take this with a HUGE grain of salt.

While I haven't played it, I believe that Rolemaster is very much up that alley.

Again, going by reputation, I believe that Harn is also heavily into simulation. Although, i think that's more of a setting thing than an actual play thing. Again, I'm mostly going by rumor and hearsay.

The Riddle of Steel is another one that I hear talked about.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
A board game is not an RPG, which in the OP I specifically addressed I am looking for. ;)

I think the point was that D&D is not a simulation, in much the way Risk is not a simulation. The act of making it a pleasing game to play generally gets in the way of accurate simulation.

Now, after Risk, which is simple to learn and play, we can look at a game that is supposed to be much more of a simulation - Advanced Squad Leader.

The rules for Advanced Squad Leader are detailed, comprehensive, dense, and over 200 pages long. You can't just sit down, read them, and play the game. Leaning into the simulation makes the game far, far more complicated.
 
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jgsugden

Legend
I've been playing this really realistic simulation game for the past 48 years. Very immersive. I think I'm winning it.

Putting bad jokes aside, if you want something that really feels like it could be real, I think of GURPS. I use that system for all of my RPGs that are less fantasical and more gritty. I use it for Wild West Games, Spy Games, etc... I do not like it for fantasy RPGs because the system does not service high fantasy well - but I thaink that is what would make it a decent tool for a more 'realistic' game.

However, I doubt a realistic game would be very much fun. A 'realistic' game with a dragon that stands 8 stories tall would be ... short.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I've been playing this really realistic simulation game for the past 48 years. Very immersive. I think I'm winning it.
LOL I've been playing the same game for just as long---so far I think its a draw. :confused:

However, I doubt a realistic game would be very much fun. A 'realistic' game with a dragon that stands 8 stories tall would be ... short.
Not when the game also includes magic... items and/or spells. ;)
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Step 1, the step everything that's tried to make D&D into a simulation skips over with much glee and enthusiasm, is to ask what you're simulating? Earth with a vague veneer of magic sloppily smeared over it? The feel of a specific genre of fantasy replete with tropes? A specific franchise? A world of your own devising?

Step 2 is how deep do you want to simulate? Are you that mad lad who made Dwarf Fortress who wants to eventually simulate every cell and molecule? Are you okay with some fudging to come up with a reasonable facsimile? Are you willing to do the research into aaaalll the many discipline you will be judged and judged harshly on by the internet to simulate everything?
 

Let the anger from offended D&D fans flow through you. Use it!

...to go check out the BRP games mentioned earlier, and also maybe GURPS Fantasy. There are definitely fantasy games that are more directly simulationist than D&D. GURPS, for example, uses something like 1-second combat turns, and has much more specific mechanics for stuff like damage from specific weapons against specific types of armor.
 


jgsugden

Legend
...
...However, I doubt a realistic game would be very much fun. A 'realistic' game with a dragon that stands 8 stories tall would be ... short.
Not when the game also includes magic... items and/or spells. ;)
While you can use this as an explanation, think about how powerful the magic needs to be to survive a realistic 8 story monster breathing an inferno that can melt rock walls. Then consider that you want to scope this into a realistic simulation scenario. Those power levels and realistic ramifications for power use are ... tough to reconcile.
 


Lyxen

Great Old One
D&D is clearly a simulation, just not of the real world, but it's a fairly accurate (although not detailed) simulation of the (high) fantasy genre, I have no problem recreating scenes from books/movies/shows using the ruleset.

For a more real-world simulation, indeed Runequest is what I've found the closest to real-world combat (in particular the rules about Strike Ranks, reach, engagement, etc.), and a friend of mine who rose to be the King of Britain through the SCA (and combat) was of this opinion as well.
 


Hussar

Legend
D&D is clearly a simulation, just not of the real world, but it's a fairly accurate (although not detailed) simulation of the (high) fantasy genre, I have no problem recreating scenes from books/movies/shows using the ruleset.

For a more real-world simulation, indeed Runequest is what I've found the closest to real-world combat (in particular the rules about Strike Ranks, reach, engagement, etc.), and a friend of mine who rose to be the King of Britain through the SCA (and combat) was of this opinion as well.
This perspective always baffles me. A simulation, in order to actually BE a simulation, has to tell you something about what it's simulating. In other words, if I make a computer simulation of a car in a wind tunnel, that simulation will tell me how air moves over that car. It might be a good or a bad simulation, that's not the point. The point is, in order for it to be a simulation of a car in a wind tunnel, it HAS to tell me how the air moves over the car.

But nothing in D&D does that. Nothing in D&D answers the question of how. It barely answers what most of the time. If a character attacks a monster and hits for 5 points of damage, absolutely nothing in the system tells you anything about what just occured. Sure, you can make up some sort of narrative, but, any narrative you create is equally valid. The monster took 5 points of damage because it feels really bad about my poor swordsmanship is just as valid as I hit it with my sword.

So, in what way is D&D a simulation of anything?
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
While you can use this as an explanation, think about how powerful the magic needs to be to survive a realistic 8 story monster breathing an inferno that can melt rock walls. Then consider that you want to scope this into a realistic simulation scenario. Those power levels and realistic ramifications for power use are ... tough to reconcile.
While I understand and appreciate your point, a lot depends on the RPG and how the "fantasy works".

For instance, dragons in AD&D where NOT (according to the MM1) "8-story monsters". For instance:
1650108982969.png


At large, is 48' long -- so not really 8-stories.

Also, the "melt rock walls".... Why melting rock walls? If your fantasy indicates dragon breath is roughly 1500 C or hotter, then sure, but it is also then melting steel-- so any PC in armor is (literally) toast. FWIW steel will soften and weaken at much lower temperatures (about 600 C IIRC).

For myself, I never imagined dragonfire to be that hot, but I know other people certainly might.

It isn't hard (for me at least) to reconcile powerful magic and fantasy creatures in a game which (otherwise) more simulates real-world use of armor and weapons, capabilities of creatures, and lethality.
 

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