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

Thomas Shey

Legend
He needed a magic system, one of his favorite books had one that would work great in a game. He took it.. Would he have done that if he hadn't read it? Or read it and hated it? Parsimony seems to be both.

But the point was, it wasn't particularly about its appropriateness for the setting, it was just about a mechanically workable option that provided some operational and tactical decision making. That's pretty much the definition of a gamist design decision.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
I too am agnostic about three agendas. "Gamist" is poorly defined and likely IMO merges together multiple priorities.

Regarding your definition, contrast "ease" with "challenge", which is said to be a gamist priority. Until I see a robust definition for gamist anyone bucketing systems into it for me is on shaky ground.

Well, here we are then. While the two elements I mentioned can be in a bit of dynamic tension, they're still both clearly about the game functioning as a game to me, and don't have much of anything to do with ensuring proper the setting works properly, or making for a better dramatic process (unless you're position is that system transparency and speed is a priori a need in that, and that's one where I think someone pushing it is on shaky ground). I'm willing to accept arguments that there are other possible agendas but it seems like system flow and enjoyment are clearly in the same bucket to me; just because its one agenda doesn't mean it can't have multiple parts that are in conflict. After all, actual board games have that same conflict, and I don't think anyone would argue their primary functions aren't as games.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
But the point was, it wasn't particularly about its appropriateness for the setting, it was just about a mechanically workable option that provided some operational and tactical decision making. That's pretty much the definition of a gamist design decision.
Presumably no one successfully picks inspiration for a game that can't be made mechanically workable, right?

Given he said Cugel was a major inspiration for the thief, and they lifted some spell names.directly from it (and others by effect), it feels like he liked the book a bit too.
 

Hussar

Legend
But even with a nearly empty tank, bullets don't create sparks like they do on TV. They just make a hole. The bullet will be hot, but not hot enough to ignite the fumes. I did a quick google search and found a Russian version of the test. On a side note a cigarette butt will also not ignite gasoline spilled on the ground and cars that are on fire almost never explode. Even if they do it's only a small explosion not a huge fireball.

TV and movies lie, man. :mad:
Heh, well, never minding the fact that gas tanks aren't made of metal, so, it's not like shooting them will ever cause sparks.

IIRC, most car fires are caused by electrical fires, I think.
 

Presumably no one successfully picks inspiration for a game that can't be made mechanically workable, right?
I genuinely have no idea what you are saying with this. Like I can tell you are asking this sarcastically, but I don't know what the serious point is supposed to be.

Given he said Cugel was a major inspiration for the thief, and they lifted some spell names.directly from it (and others by effect), it feels like he liked the book a bit too.
Not knowing what Cugel is, I cannot meaningfully respond.
 

Oofta

Legend
Oh, yeah, a regular bullet would be really unlikely to do it. The two times I saw it occur, both involved welding equipment.

And yeah, burning cars can burn awfully hot but an explosion is pretty unlikely.
Fuel + welder = bad. Guy I knew burned his snowmobile to a crisp almost along with my dad's shop.
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I genuinely have no idea what you are saying with this. Like I can tell you are asking this sarcastically, but I don't know what the serious point is supposed to be.


Not knowing what Cugel is, I cannot meaningfully respond.

The post I was quoting and replying to seemed to say that Vancian magic wasn't particularly chosen because it was appropriate to the setting, but only because it was mechanically workable option that made a good game (and was thus entirely a gamist choice).

I would argue that Gygax seemed to really like the Dying Earth books and find them inspirational to his splooshed together world (Cugel was the star of the second one and was cited by Gygax as a major influence of the Thief class, for example; in addition to lifting various spells; and the magic system) and that of course any magic system chosen to be in a game should be one that would work well in a game.
 
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Thomas Shey

Legend
Presumably no one successfully picks inspiration for a game that can't be made mechanically workable, right?

"Successfully" is doing some heavy lifting in that sentence. :)

But the point is, that was the only apparent criterion. You notice he didn't say anything about "fitting the setting" or "working as intended in the world"; it was all about making the decision making process interesting.

Given he said Cugel was a major inspiration for the thief, and they lifted some spell names.directly from it (and others by effect), it feels like he liked the book a bit too.

I'm sure he did, but that doesn't say it had an overly strong influence on the setting (to the extent there was one) in any way. Poul Anderson had more than a big of influence too, between the law/chaos alignment conflict and the paladin.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
The post I was quoting and replying to seemed to say that Vancian magic wasn't particularly chosen because it was appropriate to the setting, but only because it was mechanically workable option that made a good game (and was thus entirely a gamist choice).

I would argue that Gygax seemed to really like the Dying Earth books and find them inspirational to his splooshed together world (Cugel was the star of the second one and was cited by Gygax as a major influence of the Thief class, for example; in addition to lifting various spells; and the magic system) and that of course any magic system chosen to be in a game should be one that would work well in a game.

But like I said, he liked a lot of things. And again, I point back to the quote from the man himself for the reasons. What part of that quote says anything about "the setting" even being a factor? Nothing I can see. And part of that was that at the time of OD&D's publication "setting" was almost nonexistent; while elements from Gygax Greyhawk campaign showed up in the books, so did stuff from Blackmoor and odds and ends that, as best one can tell, were pulled up out of random inspiration. Setting just didn't seem to be something considered important until significantly later.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
But like I said, he liked a lot of things. And again, I point back to the quote from the man himself for the reasons. What part of that quote says anything about "the setting" even being a factor? Nothing I can see. And part of that was that at the time of OD&D's publication "setting" was almost nonexistent; while elements from Gygax Greyhawk campaign showed up in the books, so did stuff from Blackmoor and odds and ends that, as best one can tell, were pulled up out of random inspiration. Setting just didn't seem to be something considered important until significantly later.

“Aside from ideas and specific things, the very manner in which Jack Vance portrays a fantasy environment, the interaction of characters with that environment, and with each other, is so captivating that wherever I could manage it, I attempted to include the “feel” he brings to his fantasy tales in the AD&D game. My feeble ability likely managed to convey but little of this, but in all I do believe that not a little of what fans consider to be the “soul” of the game stems from that attempt.” – Gary Gygax, “Jack Vance and the D&D Game,” Profantasy, 2001


Quoted from: Jack Vance’s Influence on Dungeons & Dragons|Goodman Games
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Going with the previous that talks about the feeling of the fantasy environment, playability was also certainly important. Michael Tresca writes:

'The Dungeons & Dragons wizard is actually inspired by the wizards of Jack Vance's Dying Earth series. Gygax explained the four cardinal types of magic in literature: those systems which require long conjuration with much paraphernalia as visualized by Shakespeare in Macbeth and Robert E. Howard in Conan, those which require short spoken spells (like Jack Vance's Dying Earth series), ultra-powerful magic typical of DeCamp and Pratt in the "Harold Shea" stories, and "generally weak and relatively ineffectual magic (as found in J.R.R. Tolkien's work)." Taking into account the need for speed and balance, Gygax chose the most expedient form of spell casting, Vancian magic.'


Found at: TSR - Jack Vance's Forgotten Contributions to D&D
which has other quotes and mentions Vecna and Ioun stones as well.

Anyway, I will have to disagree that it was just gameist, and not also admiration for the works of fantasy he loved.

"When I began to add elements of fantasy to medieval miniatures wargames around 1969, of course the work of Jack Vance influenced what I did. Along with Robert E. Howard, de Camp & Pratt, A. Merritt. Michael Moorcock, Roger Zelazny, Poul Anderson, J.R.R. Tolkien, P.J. Farmer, Bram Stoker—and not a few others, including the fairy tales Brothers Grimm and Andrew Lang, and conventional mythologies—his writing was there in my memory. Happily so. What I devised was based on the fantastic creations of many previous writers, an amalgam of their imaginations and my own, and it was first published in 1971 as the CHAINMAIL Medieval Miniatures Rules, the “Fantasy Supplement” thereto. Not much later, in 1972, I wrote the first draft of what was later to become the first commercial Role-Playing Game, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, published in January, 1974."
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
“Aside from ideas and specific things, the very manner in which Jack Vance portrays a fantasy environment, the interaction of characters with that environment, and with each other, is so captivating that wherever I could manage it, I attempted to include the “feel” he brings to his fantasy tales in the AD&D game. My feeble ability likely managed to convey but little of this, but in all I do believe that not a little of what fans consider to be the “soul” of the game stems from that attempt.” – Gary Gygax, “Jack Vance and the D&D Game,” Profantasy, 2001


Quoted from: Jack Vance’s Influence on Dungeons & Dragons|Goodman Games

I'm afraid that's still not telling me he chose that magic system to suit the setting, because the implied setting in OD&D is not much like the Dying Earth at all.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Anyway, I will have to disagree that it was just gameist, and not also admiration for the works of fantasy he loved.

But liking the source still doesn't make it simulationist in any fashion. As I said, if that was the reasoning you'd see more signs of Dying Earth style elements in OD&D and they just, well, aren't really to be seen.

"When I began to add elements of fantasy to medieval miniatures wargames around 1969, of course the work of Jack Vance influenced what I did. Along with Robert E. Howard, de Camp & Pratt, A. Merritt. Michael Moorcock, Roger Zelazny, Poul Anderson, J.R.R. Tolkien, P.J. Farmer, Bram Stoker—and not a few others, including the fairy tales Brothers Grimm and Andrew Lang, and conventional mythologies—his writing was there in my memory. Happily so. What I devised was based on the fantastic creations of many previous writers, an amalgam of their imaginations and my own, and it was first published in 1971 as the CHAINMAIL Medieval Miniatures Rules, the “Fantasy Supplement” thereto. Not much later, in 1972, I wrote the first draft of what was later to become the first commercial Role-Playing Game, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, published in January, 1974."

I'm afraid I'm still not seeing how this counters my statement. Yes, D&D's influences are a kitchen sink. So that says any number of magic systems would have been similarly appropriate. You could claim it was a special nod to Vance (which would imply a dramatist conceit) but he's already been quoted about why he chose the one he did--and his reasoning is explicitly gamist.
 

pemerton

Legend
Maelstrom Stoyrtelling comes with a built-in setting. There are some features of PC building that relate to the chosen setting - for instance, new players are encouraged to play "Newcomers" to the setting, who have a special "Primary Affinity" - Kael - which gives them a bonus dice pool rather than the standard base die.

It's pretty clear that the designer - Christian Aldridge - thinks there is a good fit between the setting and this (and other) aspects of PC build.

That doesn't make the game remotely simlationist. It's one of the least simulationist RPGs ever published (for instance, it anticipates design features of HeroWars/Quest, and 4e skill challenges). As I posted upthread, Ron Edwards quotes some rules text from Maelstrom to illustrate the contrast between playing a simulationist game like RQ and a non-simulationist one like HeroQuest.
 

pemerton

Legend
I am not understanding what you really mean.
Upthread (posts 670 and 671) you said that a simulationist design is one whose models and rules preponderantly take inputs and produce results including fiction, corelated with pre-existing references; so that we know when we say what follows that our fiction accords with the reference, and the imagined inhabitants of the world can know its rules.

I'm commenting on the final clause.

The imagined inhabitants of the World of GH can know the rules of that world. This is a feature of the fiction. It does not change whether I am running my GH game using AD&D, Rolemaster, Burning Wheel, or Torchbearer (I have used all those systems, plus an AD&D derivative of my own design).

The imagined inhabitants of the World of GH cannot know the rules of AD&D, or RM, or BW, or Torchbearer, or my AD&D-derived system.

Here is another post that seems relevant:
I believe that is avoided by the following set of requirements written into the definition I propose
  1. the models and rules take inputs correlated with the reference
  2. the simulation produces results including fiction correlated with the reference
  3. the correlation is evident enough that we know when we say something that follows that it accords with the reference
  4. inhabitants of the world can say things that will turn out to be true of the game rules
  5. all of the above are weighted by preponderantly: great in quantity and importance
Point 4 seems to posit that a simulationist RPG is one in which the 4th wall is routinely broken. I don't think that's right.

The inhabitants of the WoGH don't talk about offensive and defensive bonuses, for instance, nor about concussion hits and penalties to actions, whether or not I am using Rolemaster as the RPG to resolve the actions of those inhabitants.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Upthread (posts 670 and 671) you said that a simulationist design is one whose models and rules preponderantly take inputs and produce results including fiction, corelated with pre-existing references; so that we know when we say what follows that our fiction accords with the reference, and the imagined inhabitants of the world can know its rules.

I'm commenting on the final clause.

The imagined inhabitants of the World of GH can know the rules of that world. This is a feature of the fiction. It does not change whether I am running my GH game using AD&D, Rolemaster, Burning Wheel, or Torchbearer (I have used all those systems, plus an AD&D derivative of my own design).

The imagined inhabitants of the World of GH cannot know the rules of AD&D, or RM, or BW, or Torchbearer, or my AD&D-derived system.

This was probably in response to my claim that a set of rules that represent things that are not possible for the occupants of the setting to know (that is to say, primarily, hardcore genre convention rules that virtually demand that the occupants not acknowledge them) are not, in and of themselves, simulationist rules (I know I am contrary to the Forge on this; to me their attempt to lump genre convention rules into simulation is a critical flaw in that part of their model).

Here is another post that seems relevant:
Point 4 seems to posit that a simulationist RPG is one in which the 4th wall is routinely broken. I don't think that's right.

The inhabitants of the WoGH don't talk about offensive and defensive bonuses, for instance, nor about concussion hits and penalties to actions, whether or not I am using Rolemaster as the RPG to resolve the actions of those inhabitants.

The question is more relevant to Savage Worlds characters, however: do they understand Wild Cards are a thing? In a purely simulationist view they could because the benefits of being one are potentially visible, especially when watching such a character over time. If not (and I believe the answer normally is "not") why not? My answer would be because it doesn't represent a theoretical reality of the settings involved; its a dramatic conceit.

On the other hand, while Rolemaster characters are presumably often aware of the things those bonuses represent. If all of them don't, some of them at least can. Hard genre conventions are largely dependent on being invisible to the inhabitants of the worlds involved (because among other things, they would often act significantly different if they could).
 

niklinna

Legend
Upthread (posts 670 and 671) you said that a simulationist design is one whose models and rules preponderantly take inputs and produce results including fiction, corelated with pre-existing references; so that we know when we say what follows that our fiction accords with the reference, and the imagined inhabitants of the world can know its rules.

I'm commenting on the final clause.

The imagined inhabitants of the World of GH can know the rules of that world. This is a feature of the fiction. It does not change whether I am running my GH game using AD&D, Rolemaster, Burning Wheel, or Torchbearer (I have used all those systems, plus an AD&D derivative of my own design).

The imagined inhabitants of the World of GH cannot know the rules of AD&D, or RM, or BW, or Torchbearer, or my AD&D-derived system.

Why not? Might they not be able to perform experiments to determine what their underlying rules of reality—the games rules, as opposed to the world rules (whatever that means)—are? We certainly do that in "real life". There's even a theory that we are just characters in a computer game! In fact, they might even be able to perform experiments to determine when the rules have changed (form AD&D to BW, or whatever). Check out Secret of the Sixth Magic for something in the vague realm of a fantasy world where the rules can change, and someone figures out how to make it happen.

Ah, but wait, the inhabitants of that world don't even exist unless we are playing them. This is heading into some thorny territory so I'm gonna just stop right there. :)

Along these lines, have you read John Scalzi's Redshirts? I thought the story itself was just okay, but the codas really brought it home.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Upthread (posts 670 and 671) you said that a simulationist design is one whose models and rules preponderantly take inputs and produce results including fiction, corelated with pre-existing references; so that we know when we say what follows that our fiction accords with the reference, and the imagined inhabitants of the world can know its rules.

I'm commenting on the final clause.

The imagined inhabitants of the World of GH can know the rules of that world. This is a feature of the fiction. It does not change whether I am running my GH game using AD&D, Rolemaster, Burning Wheel, or Torchbearer (I have used all those systems, plus an AD&D derivative of my own design).

The imagined inhabitants of the World of GH cannot know the rules of AD&D, or RM, or BW, or Torchbearer, or my AD&D-derived system.

Here is another post that seems relevant:
Point 4 seems to posit that a simulationist RPG is one in which the 4th wall is routinely broken. I don't think that's right.

The inhabitants of the WoGH don't talk about offensive and defensive bonuses, for instance, nor about concussion hits and penalties to actions, whether or not I am using Rolemaster as the RPG to resolve the actions of those inhabitants.
Got it. Our imagined inhabitants of GH can't know the rules of TB because of gaps in correlation between TB and GH. They can know (via intuition and investigation) the rules if ICE because of correlation between those rules and GH. This isn't all or nothing, as either game could have lacunae and some more, some less successfully simulationist rules. It raises many interesting implications and doubts, which is why I felt it worth including at the level of definition.

EDIT One example is that we can notice that there are occasionally things or events during play that an imagined inhabitant runs into, but that the rules are silent upon. We're playing in GH using the ICE rules, and a character is nursing a grandparent with progressive deafness. The condition worsens over time, but how quickly? The group might find a reference from the real world or make a call. The plausibility of finding examples informs an intuition that a game system always models its references incompletely. Such a conclusion sustains arguments that all simulations are incomplete and our only choice is how far incomplete will we accept. A related intuition is that there is a reference behind all other references - the real world - and underlying many disagreements are unsettled differences in opinion over whether that has to be true.

Imagining what the inhabitants of the world could know about the rules, is for me a powerful lense for understanding what is or should be counted simulationist. It seems necessarily true that if the game rules correlate to the reference world, then its imagined inhabitants must be able to infer them.
 
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